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Focus on Parental Involvement

Congress is now in the process of reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Signed into law on January 8, 2002, NCLB is one of the most far-reaching federal education laws ever written.

“Reauthorization” means to renew the law. When Congress passes laws, they set them to expire after a period of time—usually five years. Now five years old, NCLB expires Sept. 30. As part of the reauthorization process, Congress holds hearings and asks for feedback from the various groups that have a stake in the law.

While much attention is being devoted to accountability and other provisions, many parent advocates are eager to see the strong parental involvement provisions of NCLB be implemented more faithfully.

Several major advocacy organizations have written testimony to Congress recommending changes that would empower parents to be true partners in the education of their children. Notable examples include:

  • “PTA Recommendations for Parent Involvement in the Upcoming ESEA-NCLB Reauthorization,” online at www.pta.org/documents/03NCLB-rec07.pdf;
  • The Education Trust Recommendations are online at http://www2.edtrust.org;
  • Testimony of Anne T. Henderson, national leader in parental involvement, is online at http://ncpie.org.
  • In addition, parents primarily concerned about the education of children with disabilities are encouraged to read the “Education Task Force Principles for the Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind” by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, online at http://www.c-c-d.org.
  • The House Committee on Education and Labor has posted a Discussion Draft of possible amendments. These draft proposals would strengthen the parental provisions of NCLB. The Discussion Draft and a Summary of it are available online at http://edworkforce.house.gov/bills/


    Massachusetts PIRC is keeping a file of pertinent testimonies, and is happy to provide them to readers upon request. New resources will be added through the year on various aspects of NCBL under review.