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Senator Coons Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Parent-School Partnerships

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced the Family Engagement in Education Act to help schools and families work together to support learning and raise student achievement.

Research shows that increasing parental engagement in schools enhances student success in the classroom, improves attendance, and reduces the dropout rate. The Family Engagement in Education Act promotes effective family engagement strategies and programs at the national, state, and local levels to ensure that all students are on track to be career and college-ready. This bicameral, bipartisan legislation would double education resources dedicated to family engagement from $145 million to $290 million, or 2 percent of total Title I funding.

"It's no secret that students strive harder and perform better when families are actively engaged in their education," Senator Coons said. "We can create a brighter future for Delaware's youth by ensuring that educators, community organizations, and family members have the resources they need to work together effectively. This legislation will help more families become and remain a driving force in their children's academic success."

The Family Engagement in Education Act of 2013 seeks to target capacity-building and technical assistance for effective family engagement strategies where it is needed most, while encouraging state and school district flexibility to identify programming that works best for individual communities.

The legislation will build state and local capacity for effective family engagement in education by setting aside at least .3 percent of the state Title I allocation for family engagement in education activities, such as establishing statewide family engagement centers to continue and enhance the work that had been supported through the Parent Information Resource Centers.

Yvonne Johnson, the president of Delaware's Parent Teacher Association, which seeks to encourage parental involvement in student's education, is a supporter of the Family Engagement in Education Act.

"Delaware PTA is both honored and humbled to have our U.S. senator, Christopher Coons, sponsor the Family Engagement in Education Act," Johnson said. "Family engagement is the bread and butter of our organization. It is at our roots and at the core of our work. Parent engagement can differ throughout our communities, but no matter what a family member is doing to be involved in a child's education, it makes a difference. PTA has always promoted family engagement no matter how it looks. Whether a parent is helping a child with schoolwork, baking cookies, advocating for education issues, or helping out at a school, it has an impact on that child's educational outcomes. Delaware PTA looks forward to working with Senator Coons and his staff to ensure parent and family engagement is a priority in all our schools. We appreciate Senator Coons efforts to promote effective parent and family engagement."

The bicameral, bipartisan Family Engagement in Education Act is cosponsored in the Senate by Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.).

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