Although I have titled my blog with “I am a mom with passion not an agenda,” well, I have an agenda item. Family involvement, family engagement in education. We are our children’s first teachers and we continue to play the role as educator throughout their educational career. When our children get on the bus, our responsibility in ensuring their success is not suspended, it is only the beginning. Being involved in your child’s school goes beyond bake sales; it is establishing a key relationship between parents and teachers.
The federal government is attempting to make family engagement and parent involvement easier for educators and parents. Currently, the Family Engagement in Education Act of 2011 (S.941/H.R.1821) is being debated within the House and Senate. Parent-run organizations across the country are contacting their representatives to gain support for this bill. The bill plans to provide resources to schools who establish family engagement and family partnership practices in an effort to close the learning gap for students. Schools would be allotted resources to promote parent classes, provide professional development on family engagement practices for educators and foster the partnership between parents and teachers. Family engagement should go beyond volunteer opportunities and class parties; it should be active communications between parents and teachers, knowing how your child is succeeding or struggling within their classrooms, that is the key to family engagement. These are a few of the many goals of the Family Engagement in Education Act. (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1821)
What can you do as a parent to be involved in your child’s school?
Be a voice, join with other voices and advocate for your child, communicate with your child’s teacher, be confident in your voice. You can be an advocate for education beyond your child’s school. Consider contacting your legislators and lobby for better funding and/or programming (like the Family Engagement in Education Act); let your legislators know that education is the priority, our children are the priority. To determine who your state and federal legislators are, you can search your state’s webpage for your representatives.
As parents, we are afforded certain rights. A friend of mine sent me the link to an article by Dr. Meryl Ain. She provides the “Parent’s Bill of Rights.” I would like to share that link with you. Know your rights and know that you are your child’s voice when it comes to their education. Please check out this article and I’ll address it at greater length in an upcoming blog entry. (http://www.parentinvolvementmatters.org/articles/parents-do-you-know-your-rights–71.html)
As always I would like to end with a quote:
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” ~ Jane D. Hull
United we are one voice for our children.