Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons From Five Parental Information And Resource Centers
June 2007
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I am pleased to introduce the second publication in the latest Innovations in Education series— Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons from Five Parental Information and Resource Centers. This series identifies innovative and successful education programs across the country that are closing the achievement gap and helping us reach our goal of every child reading and doing math at grade level by 2014.

The five Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) profiled in this book demonstrate how PIRCs and their partnering organizations can successfully increase parental involvement in education. They emphasize the power of strong parent-educator partnerships in improving schools and raising students' academic achievement.

A parent is a child's first and most important teacher, which is why the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) recognizes parents' vital role in education. NCLB has sent a strong message that results matter and that parents deserve more information and options, especially when their public schools do not live up to their promise. Under this law, parents must be informed if their school or district is identified for improvement because it has not made Adequate Yearly Progress. Parents also have more options than ever before for their children's education, with magnet schools, charter schools, intensive tutoring, and public school choice.

PIRCs serve the important purpose of supplying parents with information about the range of programs and services available to them. Many parents, especially those who are economically disadvantaged or limited English proficient, need assistance to learn whom to talk to when they have questions about their child's education or simply want to become more involved in their local schools and community. PIRCs have been designed with these parents and their needs in mind.

As an education advocate and a mother, I hope you will find this guide informative and helpful. As we work to improve education for all of America's children, it's important that we continue to make sure parents are empowered with the information and resources they need to make the best decisions for their children.

Margaret Spellings, Secretary
U.S. Department of Education

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Last Modified: 06/15/2009