Federal

More Parental Power in Revised NCLB Urged

By David J. Hoff — April 03, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The No Child Left Behind Act has expanded parents’ power over their children’s education and given them more information about student achievement than ever before. But Congress ought to take further steps to promote parental involvement when it reauthorizes the 5-year-old law, parent activists told a Senate panel last week.

The federal law should guarantee funding for parent resource centers, authorize schools to spend federal money to hire family-service coordinators, and give states the power to enforce the parental-involvement sections of the education law, the advocates told the Senate health, education, labor, and pensions committee on March 28.

“Schools are not taking these provisions seriously enough,” Wendy D. Puriefoy, the president of the Public Education Network, said of the law. “Significant changes are needed.”

Under the NCLB law, districts are required to involve parents when they are writing their plans to comply with Title I and other programs in the law. They also must develop a parental-involvement policy and hold regular meetings with parents explaining what the district is doing to meet the law’s achievement goals for students in reading and mathematics.

Although parental advocates considered those requirements to be significant improvements over previous versions of the law authorizing the Title I compensatory education program, they suggested that Congress should do more.

In addition to Ms. Puriefoy’s request for states to be given the power to ensure districts are fully complying with the parental-involvement measures, other experts suggested that portions of the $12.7 billion Title I program be set aside to pay for services to help parents.

Parents’ Role

Schools should be able to use Title I aid to hire a person to identify students who need health and social services and work with outside agencies to ensure such services are provided, Daniel J. Cardinali, the president of Communities in Schools, an Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit group that helps schools provide services schools need, told the committee.

If schools fail to meet their student-achievement goals for adequate yearly progress under the NCLB law, they should be required to explain how they would address the welfare and health needs of their students as part of their plans to improve student achievement, Mr. Cardinali said.

Interventions such as rigorous curricula and highly qualified teachers “will not be able to be effective if the basic social services for children are not met,” he said.

Schools also should be required to write plans that explain the educational interventions they will provide for every child, said Kathy Patenaude, the president of the Rhode Island PTA.

Teachers should review plans with parents regularly and the meetings should be “ongoing, meaningful, and two-way,” Ms. Patenaude said.

In a set of recommendations released before the hearing, the National PTA urged Congress to set aside a portion of Title I’s annual appropriation to finance parental information and resource centers. The statewide nonprofit organizations currently receive $39.6 million appropriated in their own line item in the budget for the federal Department of Education.

By setting aside a portion of Title I money, the parental centers would have a steady funding stream and wouldn’t have to lobby annually for an appropriation, the National PTA says.

Although few senators attended the hearing, several suggested that they would support expanding parental involvement when they reauthorize the NCLB law. Congress is scheduled to renew the law this year, but many observers expect lawmakers will postpone action, perhaps until 2009.

“We must … explore new and innovate strategies to engage parents and communities in helping kids succeed in school,” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a statement. Sen. Kennedy, the education committee chairman, did not attend the hearing.

A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2007 edition of Education Week as More Parental Power in Revised NCLB Urged

Events

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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
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
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

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

Federal What’s Behind the Push for a $60K Base Teacher Salary
When reintroduced in Congress, a bill to raise teacher salaries will include money to account for regional cost differences.
5 min read
Teachers from Seattle Public Schools picket outside Roosevelt High School on what was supposed to be the first day of classes, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Seattle. The first day of classes at Seattle Public Schools was cancelled and teachers are on strike over issues that include pay, mental health support, and staffing ratios for special education and multilingual students.
Teachers from Seattle Public Schools picket outside Roosevelt High School on what was supposed to be the first day of classes, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Seattle. The first day of classes at Seattle Public Schools was cancelled and teachers are on strike over issues that include pay, mental health support, and staffing ratios for special education and multilingual students.
Jason Redmond/AP
Federal Teachers Shouldn't Have to Drive Ubers on the Side, Education Secretary Says
In a speech on priorities for the year, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said teachers should be paid competitive salaries.
5 min read
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Federal A Chaotic Start to a New Congress: What Educators Need to Know
A new slate of lawmakers will have the chance to influence federal education policy in the 118th Congress.
4 min read
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the House floor after the first vote for House Speaker when he did not receive enough votes to be elected during opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023, in Washington.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3 following the first round of voting for House Speaker. McCarthy fell short of enough votes to be elected speaker in three rounds of voting on opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Historic Changes to Title IX and School Safety Funding: How 2022 Shaped K-12 Policy
Federal lawmakers sought to make Title IX more inclusive, respond to school shootings, and crack down on corrupt charter schools.
6 min read
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during the annual NYC Pride March, Sunday, June 26, 2022, in New York.
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during New York City's annual Pride March in June. Proposed changes to Title IX would explicitly protect students from discrimination based on their gender identity or sexuality.
Mary Altaffer/AP