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Legislation Would Encourage More Family Engagement in Education

When families are involved in education, students do better in school and have better outcomes, according to research. Now, a new bi-partisan legislation could break down the barriers to that family involvement, helping districts and schools facilitate the process.

The Family Engagement in Education Act of 2011 would encourage schools and districts to engage families in student education in a meaningful way. In exchange, the schools and districts would receive certain incentives.

Research shows that when families are engaged in education efforts, kids have better attendance, a lower dropout rate and most importantly, increased achievement. The act would also create statewide family involvement councils in all states to help support educators in their efforts to involve families in education, as well as ensure that teachers and administrators are trained to support it.

“When families are engaged in their children’s education, student achievement increases, regardless of their socio-economic status,” says Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY4). “Schools would have to spend roughly $1000 per student to get the same results.”

McCarthy sponsored the bill along with Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) in the House of Representatives. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE) also introduced it in the Senate.

For McCarthy, the importance of family involvement in education is more than a statistical success – it’s a personal one. “I grew up with learning disabilities and of course back then, they didn’t know anything about that. To be completely honest, reading was very difficult for me,” says McCarthy. She says that her parents and aunt helped her learn to read, and it was an essential part of her success.

“Our kids’ learning can’t stop when they leave the classroom,” Coons said. “Parents play a vital role in their education and can increase academic achievement, improve attendance, and reduce dropout rates. This bill will help schools and parents work more closely together to ensure that students stay motivated and are receiving the education and skills they need to succeed – and it will do so with no new federal spending.”


Article by Sarah W. Caron, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
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