The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) defines parental involvement as regular, two-way, and meaningful communication between parents and schools to ensure that parents are full partners in their child's/ children's educational experience.
NCLB research provides convincing evidence that children perform at higher levels both socially and academically when parents and educators regularly communicate and actively participate in enhancing student achievement.
In addition to participating in their child's education, Title I envisions parent participation in each of the three levels of decision making: state, district, and school.
Parental Involvement at the State Level
State plans must be developed in consultation with parents.
Parental Involvement at the District Level
District Parental Involvement Policy
School districts must work with parents to reach an agreement on a parental involvement policy which describes how the district will:
- involve parents in the joint development of the plan;
- provide the coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist participating schools in planning and implementing effective parental involvement;
- build capacity for strong parental involvement;
- coordinate and integrate parental involvement strategies with other programs such as Head Start; and
- conduct an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of parental involvement
In addition, the law specifically requires local school districts to provide "full opportunities" for participation of parents who are disabled or who have limited English proficiency. Schools must provide information and school profiles in a language and format appropriate to the parents' communication needs.
Parental Involvement at the School Level
School Parental Involvement Policy
Each school that receives Title I Funds must have a written parental involvement policy, jointly developed and approved by parents, that describes how the school plans to carry out the requirements of the law. The school should ensure that parents of children with disabilities help to develop the policy which must ensure that the school will:
- invite parents to an annual meeting to inform them about Title I and explain their right to be involved;
- offer a flexible number of parent meetings throughout the year and may provide transportation, child care, or home visits;
- involve parents in Title I planning, review and improvement;
- provide parents with timely information about programs, school performance profiles, their child's individual assessment results, curriculum, assessments, and proficiency levels students are expected to meet; and
- include a school-parent compact.
School-Parent Compact: A Component of the School Parent Involvement Policy
Each school receiving Title I funds must also develop, with parents, a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improving student achievement and reaching the state's high standards. Again, the school should ensure that parents of children with disabilities assist in developing the school-parent compact.