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FIRST ON FOX: The U.S. Department of Education launched the National Parent and Family Engagement Council on Tuesday to ensure parents can “constructively participate in their children’s education” and facilitate “strong and effective relationships.” between schools and families.
The council will be made up of parent, family or carer representatives from national organizations who will work with the Department of Education to identify “constructive ways” to help families engage locally.
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“Parents are a child’s first teachers, and no one is better equipped to work with schools and educators to identify what students need to recover,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. . “The National Parent and Family Engagement Council will serve as an important link between families, caregivers, education advocates and their school communities.”
Cardona said the council will also help “foster a collaborative environment where we can work together to best serve the interests of students and ensure they have the academic and mental health support they need to recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future”.
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The Ministry of Education said the council will be a “channel for parents and families to participate constructively in the education of their children by helping them understand the rights available to them”, as well as creating a “feedback loop” with schools to discuss how COVID-19 relief funds and the U.S. bailout plan are being deployed to meet student needs and identify summer learning and enrichment opportunities for children in their communities.
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Department of Education officials said the organization’s representatives “will reflect the diversity of the education system, including but not limited to the families of students in public schools, charter schools, schools private and school at home”.
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For months, parents across the country have been sounding the alarm over the lack of respect for parental rights in the classroom, amid decisions made by school boards regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents participated in school board meetings in their communities, protesting mask and vaccine mandates for children in schools. Parents also protested and demanded more feedback regarding in-person or remote learning for their children during COVID-19 spikes. And they protested school board decisions on some classroom programs, like critical race theory and the controversial sex curriculum for young students.
“Parents provide a critical perspective and they should always have a seat at the table whenever decisions are made that impact their children. And that is more important than ever in the effort to help students recover. of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Anna King, said the president of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). “The National PTA commends the Department of Education for launching the National Parent and Family Engagement Council and providing a channel for parents’ voices to be heard and acted upon.”
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King added: “This is critical to ensuring that students’ needs are met as they emerge from the pandemic and that every child has everything they need to make their potential a reality.”
Vito Borrello, executive director of the National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement, applauded the creation of the council, saying it “offers the opportunity to bring together diverse parent voices to inform Department policies and programs, while also serving as a dissemination vehicle to engage families across the country in equitable education policy.
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The council at this point includes the Council of Attorneys and Parents Advocates, Fathers Incorporated; United Generations; Daughters, Inc.; League of United Latin American Citizens; mocha mums; National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement; National Action Network; National Association of Military Families; National Parents’ Association, National Union of Parents; The National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment, United Parent Leaders Action Network; and UnidosUS.
Officials said the council would meet in the coming weeks to discuss how best to engage “constructively” with schools.
“The Department and Council will hold local listening sessions with parents, families, principals, educators and members of the school community to better understand the needs of students at the start of the 2022-23 school year. “said the Department of Education.
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