Triple the Parent Involvement Funding?

Since the adoption of the No Child Left Behind legislation in 2001, the set aside amount of funding for parent involvement activities in a school district has been pegged a 1% of budgeted amounts over $500,000. Now, with the proposed re authorization of NCLB, the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has proposed an amount of funding for parent involvement that would double that percent to a 2% set aside. In addition, states will be allowed to offer an additional 1%for new research based strategies.

At the very least, this funding set-aside increase reflects the current administrations desire to see a greater emphasis placed on engaging parents and community into partnerships with schools. Although there may be adjustments in a this aspect of the re-authorization, there is no doubt that the administration is keenly interested as part of its overall strategy, in seeing that communities and parents become more tightly engaged with each other.

From the text of the NCLB proposal:

“Our Title I proposal will require that districts
and schools develop comprehensive, systemic plans for sustained family engagement, and fund those plans with at least
2 percent of their funds from the Title I, Part A, program in ESEA. Districts will spend a minimum of $270 million nationally on parent and family engagement. Rather than implementing a checklist of activities, districts and schools will use family engagement strategies that increase student achievement and create a welcoming environment, open
communication, and strong collaboration between families and their children’s teachers, schools, and districts.”

I don’t believethat a doubling or tripling of funding for parent involvement will cause a great deal of change in getting schools to engage parents unless there is a strong effort achieve in buy-in from school staff, principals, teachers and counselors . There can often be not-so-subtle barriers erected  between school staffs and parents, especially those parents who are identified as difficult, or hard to reach. We must meet these challenges through opportunities to engage the community and staff to work out strategies that can build a more tightly coupled school community. Without the these challenges as the primary strategy, there will be a great deal of activity noted but far fewer positive outcomes.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please continue the dialogue by posting a comment.

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