MALDEF

MALDEF and NEA: Joint Report Aims to Improve Minority Parental Engagement in Children's Schools

LOS ANGELES, CA - MALDEF is committed to helping school officials and parents increase minority student academic achievement.

For the past year, MALDEF and the National Education Association (NEA) have worked together to refine a report that will help parents and communities across the country more easily overcome the challenges facing minority students in our schools.

We are now pleased to announce a report jointly created by our two organizations entitled "Minority Parent and Community Engagement: Best Practices and Policy Recommendations for Closing the Gaps in Student Achievement." The report aims to increase the active involvement of minority parents in their children's schools by identifying obstacles to such engagement and recommending strategies for parents, schools and communities to come together and overcome these obstacles.

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF, stated the following:

"Latino children are a large and increasing proportion of public school enrollment nationwide. Increased involvement of their parents -- and of the parents of children from other minority groups -- is critical to the survival and success of public schools. Through their engagement, parents become partners and champions of public education, and help to ensure that communities recognize high-quality public education as a boon to the entire nation, not just a benefit to individual children or their families."

Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association (NEA), stated the following:

"We know that when adults work together, students benefit and do better in school. But too often there are barriers - ranging from language to resources and skills - that hinder adult involvement. And too often great ideas are not shared. These obstacles are especially problematic in ethnic minority communities, where so many students are at academic risk. NEA is proud to partner with MALDEF to remove these barriers and spur new opportunities to work together for student success. We hope this guide will inspire teachers, families, and anyone involved in schools to seek new ways to collaborate so that all students can achieve their dreams."

The report is a direct result of a meeting held in October 2009 that involved over 70 parents and providers of national and community-based organizations sited across the country. MALDEF and the NEA brought these leaders together in order to address the basic right of each child, regardless of background, race, ethnicity or immigration status, to obtain a quality education.

In addition to providing best practices taken from leading educational organizations from across the U.S., the report also includes policy recommendations submitted to Congress and the U.S. Department of Education during the 2010 reauthorization process of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Many of these recommendations can be applied on a state and local level.

We encourage you to look through this report to find key strategies to increase parent engagement in schools to help ensure that minority children achieve their potential. You can access the report here.

For more information about MALDEF’s efforts to improve access to quality education for all children, please visit: http://maldef.org/education

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund