Proposed Family Engagement Bill Will Strengthen Education

Earlier this week, the Family Engagement in Education Act was introduced in the Unites States Congress by Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). Known as S.941/H.R.1821, this legislation will help increase parent and family engagement throughout our country and lead to student success. See news release here:

Simply put: parent engagement equals student achievement. Parents, grand-parents, other family members and all adult role models can bring the needed dedication and experience to the table to help make student success a reality.

For years, school districts and local schools have lacked the resources to implement research-based practices that meaningfully engage parents. This legislation can help provide the resources that take increased engagement to the level we all agree is needed.

The bill would provide incentives to districts and schools to implement best practices, such as parent leadership academies, placing family engagement coordinators in schools, and professional development for educators on how to partner with families.

The Family Engagement in Education Act would also strengthen the sole federal program dedicated to parent engagement, the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs), to scale-up research-based strategies for engaging families. PIRCs currently serve more than 16 million parents in all 50 states.

As policymakers in Washington work to fix No Child Left Behind, this bill puts forth a framework for true partnership with parents and families in education reform efforts – and it does all of this without authorizing any new federal spending.

We know that partnership is pivotal in ensuring reforms passed on Capitol Hill are sustainable in our districts and schools. There is a lot going on in our nation’s capital and we know Congress has a full plate, but PTA leaders, members and all families should share their support for this legislation and contact their Representatives and Senators to urge them to do the same. For information on how to do this, visit

For 115 years PTA has worked to better the health and educational experience for every child. Now is the time to add your voice to this very important conversation. Get involved and support S.941 and H.R.1821, helping make every child’s potential a reality!


  1. EducationCEO says:

    The timing of this is interesting because I finished my interview with the Nominating Committee for the local PTA. I went into the interview with a positive outlook, despite the negative experiences with school and PTA shared by other parents. I volunteered to get involved with PTA by writing grants to raise money for our programs. I was never contacted by PTA to do this. I also volunteered to work on the Arts in Education Committee. Did not hear from PTA until March, 1 week before the event.

    During my ‘interview’ I shared some of my concerns, frustrations, and ideas with the committee; however, my worst fear came true: There was an excuse for every concern I raised. I shared that in my experience as a teacher, parents would often tell me that they were made to feel inferior when visiting the school. One committee member said, ‘They are just using that as an excuse.’ It is very easy for people who have never been in a situation to minimize the feelings and concerns of other people. Until this attitude changes, schools, districts, and the PTA will have a problem with parental engagement.

    But then again, what do I know? I am only a college-educated single parent, who does not feel the need to present a phony persona simply to gain entry into the clique.

  2. Nadine Kirby says:

    It has been a long time coming for Education, the powers that be( Duncan and Rhee are you listening) need to understand this and align themselves with parents,teachers,administrators and students in a collaborative effort in order to improve education.All the things going on right now (Privitization, merit pay legislation,vouchers etc…) will not improve education they only serve to destroy it. It is a very well known fact that family involvement and encouragement along with much needed collaboration( Teachers, students , parents and administration) and an equal distribution of responsibility and accountability will no doubt in my mind improve Education.

  3. Jen President says:

    Parent/Family involvement is so very important in our school systems. With staff teaching more kids in a class to budget cuts. Our PTA would like to get a letter out to our administration regarding several of our classes that, bottom line, have TOO many kids. For example our 5/6 split, yes, split will have over 35 students! We have another problem similar in the lower grades (we are a Sage school) What I am looking for is help to compile a letter to our Administration to show how PTA and our parents are saddened by this many children in one class. We have parents treatening to pull there childred from this GREAT school. Can anyone help with a letter?
    Thank you Jen/President

  4. Diane Wright says:

    I developed a program that speaks to this exact issue by offering six different MAKE N TAKE Academic Game Kits created EXCLUSIVELY for family game nights at elementary schools. They are available at PARENT NIGHT Each of the game kit selections provide fun and intriguing learning game activities that offer families a unique HANDS-ON, MULTI-SENSORY experience to learning. The premise and objective is offer activities that empower and appeal to children and parents alike, by offering a variety of math based board games that begin TO CULTIVATE AND ENCOURAGE THE LEARNING PRACTICE TO CONTINUE AT HOME!!!

    If interested, please visit

  5. Robben Wainer says:


    To this day, I contemplate the conditions of my life experiences, and the mentors who have instilled in me a sense of values. An honest authority figure, or power of example is not a person who will aim to dissuade others from their chances of making progress, or from applying their skills to conduct rigorous effort. The values that were established that I have sought to communicate with and pass down, were not left to a world of make believe, or improvised with a false pretense to inflict damage. These values were not subject to or prone to, rumors, gossip, criticism or insult. They were not formed to put others in their place, or to act with the airs of superiority. My mentors becam a channel that instilled in me the ethics of sound practice, and moral beliefs, so that I may lead others only by what I have learned and gained from experience. My self respect teaches me that a disloyal beginning leads to a false precept for misconduct and inappropriate behavior. Perhaps a sense of false pride may be included. The mentors whom I have rested my faith with teach me that self discipline requires a firm beliuef in self appraisal, with the renewal and resolution of problems that had stood in the way. My mentors have only shown me the path, it was my role to carry out the work.

    Thank You,

    Robben Wainer

  6. Cathy Webb says:

    It’s a sad day in education when incentives must be implemented to gain greater parental involvement in their child’s education. However, I pray this bill is passed. It will shine the light on the needs of the education field and how this need not only affects the children but also the community and the future of this country!

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