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Moving From Information to Action
Once parents understand their rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in relation to their children's education, and once they know how to formulate and ask the right questions—and feel comfortable doing so—they are ready to better support and advocate for their own children. They also are more likely to feel at ease volunteering in their child's classroom or helping out occasionally by working on a specific schoolwide project (e.g., assisting with a fundraiser, participating in a cleanup day).
For some parents, this degree of involvement will feel sufficient. But some will want to do more. They may want to become school leaders, the ones who conceive and organize the special projects (e.g., a cultural celebration, a workshop on how to help with homework), who recruit additional volunteers, and who advocate for other students and families, not just their own. Or they may want to get involved in education decision-making, participating in school governance, becoming a member of the school site council, or sitting on a district or state education committee or board. For these parents, more preparation can lead to greater effectiveness in their education-related endeavors. The same holds true for educators who want to partner more actively with parents and be involved in joint decision-making. Part II of this guide addresses how PIRCs help prepare well-informed parents and educators for action and partnership.