U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in introducing the Family Engagement in Education Act on Tuesday to establish policies and programs at all government levels that better incorporates family engagement to increase student achievement.
"For Delaware's youth to be competitive in our future global economy, it is imperative that learning is fostered both inside and outside of the classroom," Senator Coons said. "Family members are the most influential individuals in a child's life, and as a country we must ensure that caregivers are equipped with the resources they need to encourage children to strive to be their fullest educational potential."
Research has shown that family engagement in a child's education increases student achievement, improves attendance, reduces the dropout rate, and improves the emotional and physical well being of children. This bill will help make learning a vital part of American families.
Specifically the Family Engagement in Education Act will:
* Empower parents by increasing local education agency resources dedicated to family engagement from 1 percent to 2 percent of Title I funding.
* Improve the quality of family engagement practices at the school level by requiring local education agencies to develop and implement standards-based policies and practices for family-school partnerships.
* Build local and state capacity for effective family engagement in education by allowing states to set aside and dedicate up to 1 percent of their Title I allocation to support local family engagement centers and support states' capacity for family engagement activities.
* Restructure Parental Information Resource Centers (PIRCS) to provide high-quality services and reach more families.
* Improve professional development in the area of family engagement in education.
* Extend Family Engagement in Education to Neglected and Delinquent Youth by requiring strategies for family engagement, particularly for the transition of youth from corrective facilities.
"I'm encouraged this legislation will not only advance learning in all settings, but also provide opportunities for guardians to be active participants in their children's education," Senator Coons said. "Families have a critical influence of how students view the impact of education on their future."
Bud Mullins, the president of Delaware's Parent Teachers Association, which seeks encourage parental involvement in student's education, is a supporter of the Family Engagement in Education Act.
"Delaware PTA is very grateful to Senator Coons for co-sponsoring this bill to improve family engagement," Mullins said. "It is vitally important that parents be involved in their child's education, and Senator Coons by his actions, recognizes this critical piece as a central part in achieving student success and achievement. Additionally, this bill supports our PIRC's, which have been a mainstay to our school districts, by providing programs and services in support of this effort, throughout Delaware. Senator Coons should be commended for leading the Senate in this effort to support family engagement in education in Delaware and throughout the country. We truly thank him for his efforts. "