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PART I: The PIRCs' Role in Building Understanding Of NCLB and Other Education-related Issues
The amount and variety of information—from the general to the specific—that can help parents more effectively support their children's education seems almost infinite: how children learn; how to support that learning at home, including how best to help with homework; how to know whether their children are performing as well as possible; how well the school and district are carrying out their responsibilities; how to decipher a school report card; what volunteer opportunities exist at their children's school; ways, if any, of influencing school or district policies and practices; how NCLB affects them as parents; what a school-parent compact is; what AYP is; what options exist if the school is not adequately serving their children; what services and rights exist for children with special needs; and how to know if their children qualify for SES. And that is just for starters.
Ensuring that parents receive and understand the information they need to support their children's education is a major responsibility of the PIRCs. Today, that means, first and foremost, making sure parents understand their rights, responsibilities, and opportunities under NCLB, such as participating in development of a school-parent compact (i.e., a written agreement among parents, school staff, and the community about how to help students reach high academic standards) or exercising their children's options for school choice or SES. Many educators also need to better understand how NCLB affects parents' rights and opportunities in relation to their children's education, as well as how parents' growing knowledge of NCLB and other education-related issues might cause them to want to become a more active partner with their children's school.