ALEXANDRIA, Va., (June 9, 2016)—Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill that would fund labor, health and human services and education programs for Fiscal Year 2017. The bill now moves to the Senate floor.
“National PTA is extremely disappointed that the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program is not funded in the bill,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “For years, PTA members and families nationwide have been advocating for the prioritization of family engagement in education, as it is proven to advance children’s learning and growth, increase student achievement and positively impact school improvement efforts.”
The Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program is included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new law governing the federal role in K-12 education. The SFEC program will provide states and districts with the capacity to support implementation and enhancement of meaningful family engagement policies and initiatives. It will also deliver much-needed professional development for educators and school leaders to strengthen family-school partnerships and parent-teacher relationships. Additionally, SFECs will provide direct services to families to arm them with tools to effectively work with their child’s school to improve their child’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.
Congress recognized the vital role family engagement plays in education and student success by including the SFECs program in ESSA. However, the program is one of only a handful of programs in ESSA that is not funded in the Senate appropriations bill.
“On both sides of the aisle, members of Congress talk about the importance of family engagement, but an actual investment in SFECs is critical to ensure that families are meaningfully engaged in all aspects of a child’s educational continuum,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “If policymakers are truly serious about the essential role of parents and families in a child’s education and long-term success then where is the dedicated funding toward that end?”
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.