Education Department proposes doubling federal funding for parental engagement
This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the Education Department’s proposal to double the amount of federal dollars set aside for family involvement. The Department also proposed allowing states to use federal funds to hold a competition to generate the best local ideas on family involvement.
“Parents will always be a child’s first and most important teacher,” said Duncan. “And parenting is the most important job that every parent takes on. This week we are proposing to step up our efforts at the federal level to empower parents to do even more for our students.”
Under current law, districts are required to use 1 percent of federal Title I dollars to carry out family engagement activities. This week, the Department proposed doubling funding for family engagement from 1 percent to 2 percent of Title I dollars—for a total of roughly $270 million—and asking districts to use these funds in a more systemic and comprehensive way. The Department has also proposed an optional Family Engagement and Responsibility Fund that states can create with the use of $145 million in existing Title I funds. The fund would be used to create a state-led competition that would support outstanding local family involvement programs.
Secretary Duncan delivered this news as part of his keynote address at the first annual Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference hosted by Parenting magazine and Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. In the speech, the Secretary not only asked for parents to do more but for the Department to do better. Duncan also stressed that the best ideas are often found at the local level.
Both the $270 million in family engagement funding and the optional $145 million for a state-led competition are intended to support best practices at the local level.
* Read Secretary Duncan’s complete remarks or listen to an NPR interview Duncan gave about the Mom Congress.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance developed a Parent Engagement toolkit to engage parents in dropout prevention and development strategies to ensure the success of all children. This toolkit is a resource for Dropout Summit conveners and community leaders bringing the parent voice into the planning process and the development of local and state action plans addressing the dropout crisis. The ‘toolkit’ can be found at the PTA Newsroom.
Tracy Lynn Cook ~ Writer
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