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Bipartisan Family Engagement in Education Act Introduced Today in U.S. Senate, House of Representatives
Legislation Would Encourage Families as Partners in Raising Student Achievement
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2011) –Congressional champions for education introduced on Tuesday, May 10th the Family Engagement in Education Act of 2011 (S.941/H.R.1821). The legislation would strengthen family engagement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which both Congress and the Administration have placed as a top priority this year.
The bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Todd Russell Platts (R-PA/19) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY/4), and in the U.S. Senate by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Christopher Coons (D-DE).
“It’s simple, children succeed when families are engaged. That’s why this legislation makes sense," says Charles J. “Chuck” Saylors, National PTA President. “We commend these Senators and Representatives for taking a stand for America’s families and children. This legislation is a critical first step in ensuring a sound partnership between families, schools and the community to increase student success.”
The bill would provide incentives to districts and schools to implement best practices, such as parent leadership academies, place family engagement coordinators in schools, and provide professional development for educators on how to partner with families.
“Consistent family engagement in a child’s education can improve student achievement and enhance educational opportunities,” said U.S. Congressman Todd Platts (PA-19). “The Family Engagement in Education Act moves us towards that goal by empowering families and incentivizing schools and communities to help enhance the education of our nation's young people.”
“Family engagement is a cost-effective way to turn around struggling schools and close the achievement gap,” said Congresswoman McCarthy. “This bill will ensure that parents are getting actively involved in the education of their children and I’m proud to introduce it with my colleague Mr. Platts. I also applaud the PTA, which has been extremely effective in bringing parents and teachers together to improve education, and works hard to ensure that the voices of parents and families are heard in Congress.”
“This isn’t just about parents helping their own kids, it is about improving schools and ultimately strengthening communities. Improving teaching and learning in our schools means fostering strong family-school partnerships. This legislation will build our capacity to do that,” said Reed. “Increasing resources to strengthen parental involvement is a smart and effective strategy to improve the school community and our economy, which depends on a well-educated workforce.”
“Our kids’ learning can’t stop when they leave the classroom,” Senator Coons said. “Parents play a vital role in their education and can increase academic achievement, improve attendance, and reduce dropout rates. This bill will help schools and parents work more closely together to ensure that students stay motivated and are receiving the education and skills they need to succeed – and it will do so with no new federal spending.”
The Family Engagement in Education Act would also strengthen the sole federal program dedicated to parent engagement, the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs), to scale-up research-based strategies for engaging families. PIRCs currently serve over 16 million parents in all 50 states.
National PTA®, the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association, has championed this bill along with leading researchers and practitioners, philanthropic groups, and policy experts in the field of family engagement. Founded in 1897, PTA continues to advocate ensuring every child is successful in school and in life. More than 40 years of research has shown that partnering with parents, regardless of their socioeconomic status or educational background, improves student achievement and graduation rates.
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