ALEXANDRIA, Va., (June 23, 2016)—Today, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance to help states and school districts effectively engage stakeholders in the implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires that stakeholders—including parents—are meaningfully engaged and consulted during the implementation process. However, few details are provided in the law on what constitutes meaningful engagement and how stakeholders should work together.
“ESSA recognizes the critical expertise and firsthand knowledge that parents, educators, practitioners and other stakeholders can bring to the table to help improve our nation’s schools and make sure every child has the opportunity to reach his/her full potential. This is a much-needed change in education policymaking,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA has called on the Department of Education to provide best practices for effective stakeholder consultation and engagement to ensure this occurs as intended in the law. The association is pleased the Department has heeded this call and issued the guidance.”
As outlined in the guidance, the Department of Education recommends that states and districts design their engagement strategies to involve the many stakeholders affected by the law, including representatives of all students and families. The Department also recommends that states and districts design a process that allows stakeholders the opportunity to provide substantive input throughout the development of plans and policies related to ESSA. Additionally, the department offers ways in which states and districts can remove barriers that limit authentic engagement.
“The real impact of ESSA on children and schools depends on effective implementation of the law, which must include parents from the beginning,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “It is essential that meaningful stakeholder engagement occurs as intended and that parents and families are active in state and local implementation of ESSA to make the promise of the law a reality.”
National PTA is committed to engaging parents and families in ESSA implementation. The association has created and curated resources at PTA.org/ESSA to educate and empower families and PTAs to be a part of the process. The association also has collaborated with the Council of Chief State School Officers on A Guide on Stakeholder Outreach, as well as with the Learning First Alliance on a set of principles to help direct stakeholder engagement.
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 family engagement 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.