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Standard 4 - Speaking Up for Every Child

Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.

School staff and PTAs/parent groups can make a critical contribution to student success by ensuring all students have an advocate, whether it’s a family member, teacher, or community volunteer. They can also contribute to student achievement by offering opportunities for parents and community members to learn and practice the skills necessary to speak up for children.

Advocates often address issues affecting groups of children, but every child also needs someone who will step in and look out for him or her as an individual. To be a strong advocate for a child, a person should:

  • Help the student set goals and plan for the future;
  • Help the student select courses that match his or her goals;
  • See that the student gets assistance, such as tutoring, medical attention, or counseling; and 
  • Make sure after-school time is spent in constructive, enriching activities


There are two main goals for Standard 4

Understand how the school system works:
Parents must know how the local school and district operate and how to raise questions or concerns about school and district programs, policies, and activities. They also must understand their rights and responsibilities under federal and state law and local ordinances and policies.

  • Do parents know what school staffs do and who to contact for information?
  • Do parents know the legal rights of students?
  • Do parents know how to get a problem resolved?

Empower families to support their own and other children’s success in school:
Parents must be prepared to monitor students’ progress and guide them toward their goals so students graduate from high school ready for postsecondary education and a career.

  • Are parents offered opportunities to learn how to make the best choices for their children's education?
  • How often do counselors and advisers meet with each student?

Access the resources below for ways to speak up for every child.



Success Story: Appoquinimink Early Childhood Center
How one school used advocacy to improve student achievement



Action Steps
Ways parents and leaders can speak up for every child.


Additional Resources

Standard 4 Resources
Downloadable document of resources related to Standard 4.