Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Telling Half the Story on Parent Opportunities

January 31, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The Jan. 4, 2006, Commentary “Leave No Parent Behind” in effect leaves your readers behind, telling only half the story of parental opportunities under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In fact, one of the most critical learning windows for parents, the first five years of a child’s life, was completely overlooked.

Through its work with parents and young children, my organization has learned that if parent involvement in education starts early, parents are more likely to stay engaged. The No Child Left Behind law includes provisions for this early stage— a period when parents are gathering the very knowledge the Commentary authors endorse—through Parent Information and Resource Centers, or PIRCs.

The U.S. Department of Education created the first PIRCs in 1995. These centers were established to provide parents, schools, and organizations working with families with training, information, and technical assistance to help parents understand how children develop and what they need to succeed in school. Today, there are more than 80 PIRCs, in almost every state.

The PIRC program is the only one under the Education Department with the purpose of supporting all parents, regardless of need, risk, or other demographic characteristic. PIRCs are mandated to provide parents with information and facilitate their involvement in their children’s education. These free early-childhood programs undergird the education system, making parents “school ready” along with their children.

It’s true that parental involvement is a key component of the No Child Left Behind Act, and PIRCs are the means by which parents can become involved at the earliest point. They also lay a foundation for parents and schools to become effective partners. Through the efforts of PIRCs, collaborations among parents, teachers, administrators, and other school personnel are strengthened, leading to enhanced learning and improved academic outcomes.

Engaging parents in the educational process is important at all levels. PIRCs give parents the avenues through which to get started, even if school is years away.

Susan S. Stepleton

President and CEO

Parents as Teachers National Center

St. Louis, Mo.

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 13, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 21, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read