The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB Act) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), and is based on four principles that provide a framework through which families, educators, and communities can work together to improve teaching and learning. These principles are accountability for results, local control and flexibility, expanded parental choice, and effective and successful programs that reflect scientifically based research. The parental involvement provisions in Title I, Part A of the ESEA reflect these principles. Specifically, these provisions stress shared accountability between schools and parents for high student achievement, including expanded public school choice and supplemental educational services for eligible children in low-performing schools, local development of parental involvement plans with sufficient flexibility to address local needs, and building parents’ capacity for using effective practices to improve their own children’s academic achievement.
New reporting provisions added by the NCLB Act offer parents important insight into their children’s education, the professional qualifications of their teachers, and the quality of the schools they attend. The new legislation ensures that parents have the information they need to make well-informed choices for their children, more effectively share responsibility with their children’s schools, and help those schools develop effective and successful academic programs. Parents now will know their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses and how well schools are performing, and they will have other options and resources for helping their children if their schools are identified in need of improvement.
Title I, Part A is designed not only to help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers, but also to change the culture of America’s schools so that success is defined in terms of student achievement and schools invest in every child. As indicated by the parental involvement provisions in Title I, Part A, the involvement of parents in their children’s education and schools is critical to that process. Secretary Paige put it succinctly when he stated, “[s]chools can’t improve without the help of parents.”
Three decades of research provide convincing evidence that parents are an important influence in helping their children achieve high academic standards. When schools collaborate with parents to help their children learn and when parents participate in school activities and decision-making about their children’s education, children achieve at higher levels. In short, when parents are involved in education, children do better in school and schools improve.
Excerpts from Parental Involvement: Title I, Part A Non-Regulatory Guidance, April 23, 2004, Page 1