Today, parents, family members, teachers, and champions of children everywhere are urging Congress to invest in family engagement for student achievement as part of the National Call-In Day for Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) Funding.
I know … in between work, soccer practice, piano lessons, homework, work, (did I mention work) and everything else under the sun, it’s sometimes hard to find the time to participate in action alerts. I’ve been there, reading the email on my BlackBerry, thinking to myself “I should call,” and meaning (but failing) to take action. I’m here to tell you that your voice is needed today, more than ever. Congress is making some tough decisions, and as we are all well aware, Capitol Hill is tightening its belt. We must ensure that belt-tightening doesn’t happen at the expense of children.
Why is your call important?
Everyone agrees – family and parent involvement is key to student success. Believe it or not, PIRCs are the ONLY federal program dedicated to increasing family engagement in education. In other wordsthe 62 PIRCs, which operate in every state and US territory, comprise the only program infrastructure for assisting local school districts and state educational agencies in building capacity to meaningfully engage parents. They often serve in the poorest and lowest-performing districts where family engagement is traditionally lacking. All school districts are required to comply with sections of No Child Left Behind that mandate parental involvement, yet many districts struggle to do so. This is where PIRCs come in – supporting activities like teacher and school staff training in family engagement and cultural competencies, parent leadership academies, and technical assistance in implementing research-based policies and practices to increase family engagement.
The status quo—where meaningful family engagement and two-way communication between schools and parents exists only in select school districts—is not acceptable. Family engagement is key, not only to turning around struggling schools, but also to ensuring that every student reaches his or her academic potential. We MUST safeguard funding to increase capacity for family engagement as Congress reauthorizes (or “fixes”) NCLB, or we stand the very real chance of losing federal support for this work entirely. PIRCs are the vehicle by which we must fight for the cause of family engagement, as the future of this line item in reauthorization relies heavily on our ability to secure FY2012 PIRC funding.
PTA is the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy group. Our motto of “every child, one voice” means that we champion all children – especially those who have no parent voice of their own. While your son or daughter’s school might not be the direct beneficiary of PIRC services and programming, chances are there is a school nearby that is – or one that could greatly benefit from programs designed to engage parents and families. Every child deserves a champion; — at home and in the classroom!
Join with me and thousands of other advocates in fighting for every child with one voice – Call your members of Congress TODAY!