WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 24, 2013 -
Any effort to provide students with a quality education must include parents. Parental involvement can help drive innovation, competition, and school improvement. However, current federal policies often ignore the important role parents play, and can stand in the way of state and local efforts to engage parents in their child’s education.
For example, under current law, states and schools are only held accountable to Washington bureaucrats – not local communities. Additionally, the existing federal Charter School Program does not effectively support the replication and expansion of proven, high-quality charter schools, and nearly one million children remain on wait lists as a result. While federal efforts to expand tutoring opportunities and public school choice for students trapped in underperforming schools have good intentions, prescriptive regulations dictating participation have created confusion for school districts and limited student participation. Finally, federal programs designed to help states and school districts improve parental involvement through education and family activities have had little to no effect on student achievement.
Whether through charter schools, open enrollment policies, or other options, parents should be free to select the school that best fits their child’s needs. Federal policies should also help parents become more active in their child’s education by ensuring they have access to meaningful information about local school quality and empowering communities to hold schools accountable. The Student Success Act will encourage state and local efforts to improve education options and parental engagement.
THE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT
- Reauthorizes the Charter School Program, which supports the expansion and replication of high-quality charter schools and provides parents more education choices for their children.
- Creates a Direct Student Services program that provides funds to school districts interested in offering free tutoring and public school choice options. This replaces current parental choice options that have been eliminated by the Secretary of Education's waiver scheme.
- Maintains support for the Magnet School program and its efforts to develop and implement innovative education methods and practices that increase choices in public education.
- Renames and improves the existing Parental Information and Resource Centers program. The new Family Engagement Centers program will help develop and implement policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student academic achievement.
- Maintains long-standing parental involvement, consent, and notification provisions in current law. For example, local school districts need to have written policies involving parents in the activities of their schools and ensuring that its programs and activities involve parents.