More than 16 million parents and families will face that reality this fall. Why? Last week the Department of Education decided to eliminate the sole funding stream dedicated to family engagement in education. A flat out mistake that sends the wrong message to families and negates years of work to bring successful family engagement to local school districts.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. On September 30, 2011 more than 16 million parents and families (more than 75% of whom are low income) will stop receiving services from Parent Information Resources Centers (PIRCs), which parents and school districts across the country rely on to increase and improve communication between schools and families and build effective family-school partnerships.
Decades of research show that there is a direct link between family engagement and student achievement. If education is linked to the success of our economy, then why eliminate the one program that ties families to that success? That’s a question for the Department of Education to answer; especially after family engagement was said to be a high priority to them.
Unfortunately, the Department's decision concerning funding for the 2011-2012 school year is final. But we can still make our voices heard, our disappointment noted, and fight to bring back the funding for this program in 2012.
Write to President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to convey your disappointment in their decision and how it will negatively impact parents and families in your community, district and state.. Also, write and call your state’s Congressional delegation to express the same concerns and request that they fight for the program during the FY2012 appropriations process so that the PIRC program is reinstated.
It will be a long battle, but let’s fight together to bring back this crucial program that supports millions of families to help children succeed nationwide!