States play a vital role in family engagement. Our federal system gives State Education Agencies (SEAs) significant responsibility for ensuring compliance with federal requirements. In addition, State policy can:
- Articulate a vision for family engagement as a shared responsibility;
- Align school improvement efforts with family engagement requirements in Title I of ESSA and other federal programs;
- Direct resources toward high-impact family engagement practices;
- Require family engagement as a competency in educator preparation programs;
- Ensure parents can have time off from work to volunteer in the program or school and attend parent-teacher conferences without fear of losing their job.
State Leaders Network
The Family Engagement State Leaders Network, convened monthly by AIR/SEDL, formed in 2012 to connect leaders across state education agencies (SEAs). The Network builds SEA capacity to implement, scale-up, and sustain initiatives in family and community engagement that support student success. Membership includes SEA staff or SEA appointed consultants with responsibility for family engagement. Participation in this group is free and voluntary, and family engagement leaders from all SEAs are welcome to participate. To join, please email Lacy Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Policy on Family Engagement
ESSA State Plans
Thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have submitted their 2017 plans for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law gives states significant new leeway to set student achievement goals and calls for looking beyond test scores in gauging school performance. Click on the state name below for details on their submitted plan.
Education Week provided a useful side-by-side comparison of each of the submitted state plans.
Effective State Practices
States carry out a wide variety of core functions in their day-to-day work. While state education agencies (SEAs) may not be working in local communities with families, and often do not hear from families directly, there are many activities they do engage in every day which can strengthen the essential conditions for strong family-school-community partnerships, as well as reduce barriers to these partnerships. From writing, releasing, reviewing, and monitoring applications for state and federal grants to licensing teachers to designing and implementing school improvement systems, there are a variety of functions states have which can positively impact family, school, and community engagement.
Tell us about what is happening in your state. It is our goal for NAFSCE.org to be the first stop for SEA’s seeking resources on improving their policies to support high-impact family engagement.
Many states have adopted all or portions of the National Standards for Family- School Partnerships. These standards and the associated assessment we created at the request of the National PTA, by Anne Henderson, and Karen Mapp. Click here to see an overview of these standards.