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Advocate on Behalf of Family Engagement

Sep 27, 2017, 10:52 AM

This week over 200 state and local PTA volunteers came to Washington, DC to advocate on behalf of family engagement and ask their members of Congress to cosponsor the Family Engagement in Education Act (H.R. 1194/S. 622), National PTA’s key legislative priority.  The bipartisan bill was reintroduced on March 2, 2015 by Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Chris Coons (D-DE).  PTA encourages you to take action as well to ensure your member of Congress is a cosponsor.

More than 40 years of research confirms that when parents and families are engaged in their child’s education, they are more likely to attend school regularly, have increased levels of achievement and more likely to graduate on time. Additionally, family engagement also improves behavioral and social and emotional outcomes for students and supports a positive school culture and climate among parents, teachers and school leadership. In fact, studies show that engaging families is also cost effective; schools would have to spend more than $1,000 dollars per pupil to get the same results.

The Family Engagement in Education Act provides resources for schools and districts on best practices in engaging parents to raise student achievement, supports teachers and principals by providing professional development for educators on how to partner with parents to close the achievement gap, and builds statewide and local capacity to engage parents.

Importantly, the bill puts forth a framework for systemic, integrated, and sustainable family engagement at all levels, while allowing the flexibility and resources for local innovation and strategic partnerships, without authorizing any new spending.

National PTA government affairs staff will continue to work with advocates and policymakers to ensure that provisions of the Family Engagement in Education Act will be a part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Jacki Ball is the Director of Government Affairs at National PTA. Contact Jacki at jball@pta.org.

March 10-12 marks the 215 National PTA Legislative Conference, which gives participants the chance to have in-depth discussions about PTA’s public policy priorities through interactive workshops, keynote speakers, advocacy trainings and more. During the conference, PTA advocates from across the country will have the opportunity to amplify their voices at the federal level by advocating on behalf of PTA and influencing lawmakers. Learn more about National PTA’s Legislative Conference and take action now to urge Congress to cosponsor the bipartisan Family Engagement in Education Act of 2015.