Education Department Pitches ‘Family Rights’ at PTA Convention

By Tiara Beatty — June 29, 2015 1 min read
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used the recent National Parent Teacher Association’s convention and expo in Charlotte, N.C., to lay out expectations that every parent should be able to demand for their child’s education, embodied in what his department is calling “A Set of Family Rights.”

The declaration, formerly named the Parent Bill of Rights, is pitched as a part of the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to reach out to parents and get families involved in education.

“I want to describe educational rights that I firmly believe must belong to every family in America—and I hope you’ll demand that your leaders in elected or appointed offices deliver on them,” Duncan said in a statement released the day of the June 26 event. “They come together as a set of rights that students must have at three pivotal stages of their life, to prepare them for success in college and careers and as engaged, productive citizens.”

The department is seeking free, quality preschool because, according to its research, children who enter kindergarten without having attended preschool will be one year behind in academic and social-emotional skills. This could “trap them in a cycle of continuous catch-up in their learning,” according to the department.

In addition, the department wants to create an accurate measuring stick that will demand the same high-quality education and standards no matter where a child lives.

The department also is promoting affordable postsecondary education, arguing that making college, training, and other higher education affordable will create a clear path to the middle class and ensure a bright economic future.

Duncan tweeted to his followers a picture of the set of rights and will host a Twitter chat on July 1 at 1:30 ET with the hashtag #PTChat to answer more questions.

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.