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Save PIRC for Kids and Families

Steven Vote

Teachers have a huge impact on student learning but the influence of parents and families is even greater.  I feel safe saying that as difficult as it may be for a parent to help her child overcome a year with an ineffective teacher, it is about one million times harder for a teacher to overcome the difficulties of instructing a child with a terrible home life or limited parental support.

The importance of parental involvement and support cannot be overestimated.  However, many parents lack the knowledge and resources to do the best for their children.  If we are going to support learning for all students in this country, then we need to support the families who raise them.

When I blogged about funding for early childhood education on Monday, the first comment on the Mom Congress Facebook post said, “Early childhood education should happen at home.”  This is true.  In an ideal world, every parent would be equipped and able to be their child’s best first teacher but this isn’t always the case.

Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRC) are striving to give parents the help they need to more fully engage in the education of their children.  This federally funded program requires that recipients of PIRC grants “serve both rural and urban areas; use at least half their funds to serve areas with high concentrations of low-income children; and use at least 30 percent of the funds they receive for early childhood parent programs.”

The new federal budget recently passed in the House of Representatives eliminates all funding for PIRC and the PTA is asking for your help to restore what they call, “the ONLY federal funding stream dedicated to engaging parents and families in the education of their children.”

From the PTA website:

“This proposed program elimination affects all PTAs and all parents. Without inclusion of PIRC funding in the FY2011 CR, the sole funding stream for family engagement would disappear, halting all PIRC program operations. We must tell Congress that continued program funding is not a luxury, but a necessity: when parents are engaged in education, our nation’s students reap the benefits.”

and

"[PIRC] serves 16.4 million parents, often times in the most underserved communities. This would halt program operations and eliminate 62 PIRCs impacting parents in every state, district, and territory."

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re already engaged in your child’s education.  However, no child in this country will have the future she deserves until all children have an opportunity for an excellent education.

The National PTA asks you to please urge the White House, both of your Senators, and your Representative to include PIRC funding in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution.

They’ve made it very easy for you to send your message to the right people at the click of a button.  Want to get involved without leaving the chair you’re sitting in?  Click here to act now.

Kathryn Thompson is a mom to two school-aged kids, a toddler, and a deceased betta fish. She can also be found at The Parenting Post, DaringYoungMom.com and occasionally the gym.

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