New national council signals a bigger push for family engagement in schools

U.S. Department of Education is launching a National Parents and Families Engagement Council.
By: | June 15, 2022

During the Biden administration, the U.S. Department of Education has consistently advocated for parent, stakeholder, and community involvement in schools in the wake of the educational upheaval over the past two years.

State and local educational agencies are required to include parent and family input when developing ARP ESSER plans. ED also requires such input for states submitting proposed amendments to their consolidated ESEA plans.

In addition, parent and family engagement is a key component of many ESEA programs, with Title I, Part A requirements for parent and family engagement included in ESEA Section 1116.

Now, ED is launching a National Parents and Families Engagement Council to gather input from national parent, family, and student advocacy groups as well as to hold listening sessions to identify and address student needs in the coming school year and to provide a “feedback loop” on the use of ARP ESSER funds.

“The National Parents and Families Engagement Council will serve as an important link between families and caregivers, education advocates and their school communities,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a June 14 statement announcing the new initiative. “The Council will help foster a collaborative environment where we can work together to serve the best interest of students and ensure they have the academic and mental health support they need to recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future.”

The council consists of a diverse group of national organizations, including the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates; League of United Latin American Citizens; National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement; National Military Family Association; National Parent Teacher Association; and UnidosUS.

ED says the council will hold meetings in the coming weeks to discuss student recovery and academic, mental, and social-emotional support needed for students. ED will also hold listening sessions with stakeholders, including parents, families, educators, and other school community members, to identify needs for SY 2022-23.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications.