Family Engagement in Education Act

Take ActionFamily Engagement in children’s education has been proven to be not only beneficial for the schools but also for increasing effectiveness and success of children’s education!  In fact, studies show that engaging families is also cost effective; schools would have to spend more than $1,000 dollars per pupil to get the same value-added results. Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) provides research on which policy makers and education advocates can base policies that promote family engagement as an effective strategy to achieve student success.

The FEE Act of 2013 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); in the Senate by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Chris Coons (D-DE).

Our Voices, Our Actions

As echoed at our National PTA Convention this year, our voices are needed to help to get legislators to pass this important Family Engagement in Education (FEE) Act of 2013!  The FEE Act of 2013 puts forth a framework for systemic, integrated, and sustainable family engagement at all levels, while allowing flexibility and resources for local innovation and strategic partnership.  (See further details below on local and state centers.)  This is without authorizing any new spending!

Seeking Support: Action I –  Legislators should support students and families by cosponsoring the Family Engagement in Education Act of 2013. To cosponsor in the Senate, contact Moira Lenehan-Razzuri in Senator Reed’s office at 202-224-4642/ Moira_Lenehan@reed.senate.gov.  Please click here to take action now* with a prepared letter that you can edit/send asking them to support the bill or to cosponsor it. 

Our Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded last month to my letters that the FEE of 2013 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) for review and defers policymakers to the reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for guidance.  Our other Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is on that committee and I attended a Senate HELP hearing  on the reauthorization of ESEA. Afterwards, I met with his staff in Washington, albeit he hasn’t been in the times I was there and hasn’t responded yet to this specific letter.  Nonetheless, let’s see how we can use this update.  The Senate HELP Committee is chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia).  Note, he is an Ex-Officio on the Children and Families committee, chaired by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) with centrist members such as Mark Kirk (R-IL).

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The Beginner Advocate can Stop Here!  However, if you want to hone your action, we can make use of knowing where the bill is!  Also, if we did not know, we could track this bill here.

Honing Support: Action II – Now, you can aim your efforts and time on the current Decision Makers!  1.  Check the Senate HELP committee list.  If your Senator’s name is there, Click on it to get contact data to send notes, tweets, etc.  2.  If you see a senator of a state where you have friends, then send this to them, asking them to target that senator! As a constituent, they can also send emails and/or do Support Action I above!

The Bill’s Findings By Congress

1. Family engagement in a child’s education raises student achievement, improves behavior and attendance, decreases drop-out rates, and improves the emotional and physical well-being of children. Families are critical determinants of children’s school readiness as well as of students’ decision to pursue higher education. Effective family engagement is a great equalizer for students, contributing to their increased academic achievement, regardless of parents’ education level, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background.

2.   Research on school improvement has identified meaningful partnerships with families and communities as 1 of 5 critical ingredients necessary to turnaround chronically low-performing schools.

3. Positive benefits for children, youth, families and schools are maximized through effective family engagement that–

  • Is a shared responsibility in which schools, other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and families are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development;
  • Is continuous across a child’s life from birth to young adulthood; and
  • Reinforces learning that takes place in all settings.

Statewide and Local Family Engagement Centers

In addition, each State shall award a grant or contract to a statewide nonprofit organization to establish a Statewide Family Engagement Center to provide comprehensive training, technical assistance, and capacity-building to local educational agencies, organizations that support family-school partnerships, and other organizations that carry out what National Family Engagement Alliance (NFEA) deems critical: parent education and family engagement in education programs.

A Local Family Engagement Center will also be established to evaluate the usefulness and effectiveness of innovative approaches demonstrated by these centers in engaging families in their children’s education by providing training, services, supports, and opportunities that meet families’ needs and remove barriers to their engagement in their children’s education to improve student achievement.  A myriad of organizations in our area such as Northeast KY PTA4H Clubs, Pathways, United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, Inc. (UCAN) might be interested in providing such support.

Thank you for taking time to Act and Explore a little deeper into making CHANGE!  *National PTA offers its leaders and members many resources for providing effective advocacy. You can read more advocacy posts on this blog or visit NPTA’s website to find information on PTA’s federal public policy agenda. The advocacy website also has links for an advocacy toolkit to help members and state leaders maximize their local grassroots organizing efforts. Read PTA’s blog every Thursday to get PTA Government Affairs updates and great ideas for advocacy and grassroots efforts.

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About Bren Martin

Brenda is an education advocate and has been an active leader in the schools, church and community. She is a National PTA Social Media Ambassador and was a Panelist on NBC's Education Nation in New York City, "Stepping Up: The Power of a Parent Advocate," for Parenting Magazine. Brenda was honored by the U. S. Department of Education and the White House as a “Champion of Change” for educational advocacy. She is Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress-Kentucky delegate and a recipient of Knowledge Universe-KinderCare’s Education Achievement Award! (See Parenting Magazine’s, “The Power and Potential of Parent Advocates,“ and one of Brenda’s articles, “Changing Us, Changes Them.“) Some of her services include: District PTA President and State PTA Board; Education Commissioner's Steering Committee for Teacher Effectiveness. She is a former regional President, Gifted Education; Summer Camp Creator/Director; Church Youth Director; Vacation Bible School Director; Prichard Committee’s Commonwealth of Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL) Fellow; School Based Decision Making; Employability Skills Consultant to prison & colleges; Television Special host and more. Also, Follow Brenda on Twitter @bdrumartin. Disclaimer: Use sites, blogs, information or links at your own risk.
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7 Responses to Family Engagement in Education Act

  1. Update: This was Reintroduced March 2, 2015 #FEEAct15
    HR1194 https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1194 -Sponsored by Rep. Glenn Thompson-R,Pa; Assigned to House Ed & Workforce Com.
    S622 https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s622 – Sponsored by Sen. John “Jack” Reed-D,RI; Assigned to Sen HELP Com. Prognosis: Each bill has only a 2% Chance of passing the Committee and 0-1% chance of being enacted.
    #Former #FeeAct13 Died in previous Congress:
    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2662 as S1291 and HR2662.

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  2. Bill Summary & Status
    113th Congress (2013 – 2014)
    H.R.2662

    Latest Title: Family Engagement in Education Act of 2013
    Sponsor: Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] (introduced 7/11/2013)      Cosponsors (38)
    Related Bills: S.1291
    Latest Major Action: 9/13/2013 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.

    (http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d113:2662:./list/bss/d113HR.lst::)

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