kitchen table math, the sequel: Parent Involvement and the Law

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Parent Involvement and the Law

Studies have documented that regardless of the economic, ethnic, or cultural background of the family, parent involvement in a child�s education is a major factor in determining success in school. Recognizing that parents are a child�s first teacher, National PTA has worked with federal legislators to include parent involvement requirements in education laws. Now, numerous laws require meaningful parent involvement, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).National PTA worked with Congress to initiate the PARENT Act, which sought to strengthen the parent participation policies in the ESEA.

In January 2002, the ESEA was signed into law as the No Child Left Behind Act. It authorizes more than 40 programs that provide federal funds to nearly every school district in the nation. This law now includes many of the provisions of the PARENT Act and, for the first time, bases the definition of parent involvement on National PTA�s National Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs.



NCLB also requires schools to develop ways to get parents more involved in their child's education and in improving the school.


Anonymous said...

I think they found a way to get more parents involved. Just implement a stinky curriculum.

It worked for me.

Catherine Johnson said...


Unknown said...

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view), the parent involvement requirement of NCLB applies only to Title I schools--those schools serving a certain percentage of low-income/minority students (based on census data [10 year? 2 year? I don't know]).

A school can be Title I ELIGIBLE and still not accept Title I funding, which of course exempts it from the requirements.

Of those Title I-eligible schools that accept federal funding in excess of $500,000, no less than 1% (at least $5,000) MUST be spent on parent involvement programs that encourage "the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning."

Those schools that accept less than $500,000 STILL must spend money on parent involvement and STILL must do so in a way that satisfies the statutory definition of parent involvement, but the percentage that they must spend is not specified (though, presumably, it can't be zero).

From my meeting at the AAP (Association of American Publishers), I learned that the federal government has begun auditing schools with regard to parent involvement requirements.

I have to think that either they're taking the money and spending it on new electronic scoreboards for their basketball courts, or they are spending it on "parent breakfasts" and the like--activities that have more to do with building a rapport with parents (to say it nicely) than they do with addressing the "parent-student vertices of the achievement triangle" (to say it weirdly).

Make no mistake about NCLB's parent involvement requirements, though: (1) They place the ultimate burden of providing for parent involvement entirely on the schools, (2) they require that parent involvement be focused on improving achievement (i.e., anti-cupcake), and (3) parents must be allowed to be decision-makers in that process.

Anonymous said...

So, they appoint & recruit parents to committees. They hold meetings, things are discussed, but the timeline is so drawn out that nothing substantive ever changes.

Unknown said...

Yes, Eeyore; that's exactly right!