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Coalition Urges Congress to Support Family-Engagement Centers

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A group of 83 state and national organizations is urging Congress to financially support family centers that were approved as part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The coalition sent a June 6 letter to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, asking that at least $10 million be given to fund Statewide Family Engagement Centers.

UPDATE: The Senate Committee on Appropriations considered the bill on Thursday, June 9. See an update about the committee's vote in Education Week's Politics K-12 blog.

The bill currently does not include any funding for the centers. President Barack Obama's fiscal 2017 budget proposal also did not include any money for the centers.

The coalition includes national groups, such as United Way International and the National Council of La Raza, as well as state Parent Teacher Associations.

"Our organizations believe that an investment in [the centers] is critical to ensuring that families are meaningfully supported and engaged in their child's education so they can support our nation's students in becoming fully prepared for higher education and careers," the letter states.

Within ESSA, Congress authorized the $10 million amount annually for the centers, which would provide grants to states to support family engagement policies and programs.

The previous federal law, the No Child Left Behind Act, at first gave up to $40 million for such centers, which were then called Parent Information and Resource Centers. But after the money ran out, only three states continued with their centers with other funding sources. 

See the Education Week story about community and parent engagement in ESSA, including the Statewide Family Engagement Centers.

In addition to the coalition, some members of Congress also have urged their colleagues to support the centers. See a March letter from 22 senators and a letter from 38 representatives.

Follow ESSA funding issues, including this blog post about a subcommittee's June 7 meeting, in the Politics K-12 blog.

Contact Sarah Tully at [email protected].

Follow @ParentAndPublic for the latest news on schools and parental involvement.

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