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Family Engagement in Education Act Reintroduced in Congress

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Bipartisan legislation that aims to strengthen the relationships between families and schools was reintroduced in Congress March 2.

The Family Engagement in Education Act, which also was introduced in 2011 and 2013, seeks to earmark funds to develop systems that would encourage more parents to become involved in their local public schools.

"We can create a brighter future for our youth by ensuring that educators, community organizations, and family members have the resources they need to work together effectively," Sen. Chris Coons D-Del., said in a press release. Coons is a co-sponsor of the legislation. Representatives Glenn Thompson R-Pa., and Mark Desaulnier D-Calif., are co-sponsoring the bill in the House.

The Family Engagement in Education Act would boost funding tied to family-engagement efforts to 2 percent from 1 percent of school districts' Title I dollars. The legislation also would require school districts to develop and enact standards-based policies and practices to support family-school partnerships. Finally, the bill would set aside 0.3 percent of Title I administrative funds to increase state capacity-building efforts, such as creating statewide family-engagement centers.

Members of the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group, which includes the National PTA, United Way Worldwide, the Harvard Family Research Project, and the National Council of La Raza, provided input into the development of the bill, according to the release.

Otha Thornton, president of the National PTA, called the legislation a "crucial piece in education reform," in a news release. He said the Alexandria, Va.-based organization believes that "family engagement is at the core of student success and school improvement."

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