ALEXANDRIA, VA. (February 13, 2012)—The following statements can be attributed to National PTA® President Betsy Landers:
National PTA is pleased with the maintained focus on educational success as a driver of economic prosperity. President Barack Obama’s proposed increases to vital education supports--from early learning through college access and career and technical education--speak to the need to prioritize educational investment for all students. PTA is pleased with proposed increases in K-12, special education and funds to modernize schools and retain teachers.
While the overall levels of educational investment are promising, PTA is alarmed by the lack of recognition for the vital role family engagement in education plays in student success and meaningful education reform. The total omission of any intention to assist states and school districts in building partnerships with parents and families to improve academic achievement does not meld with the Administration’s previously-made promises to prioritize family engagement as a driver of reform.
Recent studies show that meaningful partnership with parents and families is a necessary ingredient in turning around chronically low-performing schools; as important as school leadership and curriculum alignment. The President’s budget fails to include family engagement in education as a stated priority, either through funding of the Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) program or inclusion of PIRC program goals within the Administration’s priority education reform programs. PTA believes this represents a misguided approach to education reform, and encourages the President to align with bipartisan Congressional prioritization of parent impact on student achievement in ongoing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization efforts.
Although PTA supports mechanisms to improve public school choice options, true family engagement in education involves more than educational options – parents and families need access to student and school data, policies and programs to improve understanding of the educational accountability and reform systems, and access to tools to support student learning at home and in the community.
Without dedication to promoting the role of parents and families and equipping educators and school districts with the tools to partner with families to improve student outcomes, PTA fears that the implementation of key reforms will not be sustainable.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers,administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.