Commentary: Parents Are Students’ First Teachers and Greatest Advocates

It is not a novel concept that family engagement is one of the strongest predictors of children’s school success. Studies over the past 50 years demonstrate a positive relationship between family engagement and student achievement for students of all backgrounds. Children are most successful when supported by families and schools working together collaboratively. As a parent, I understand the unique needs and learning behaviors of my children more than anyone. Through my respective roles as an educator and a federal K-12 policy professional, I also understand the nuances of balancing parental input with a safe and effective education for all students.

For years, parental involvement in education has been supported by Republican and Democratic leaders as integral to student success and as a guiding principle for federal and state education policy. The Every Student Succeeds ‎Act (ESSA), the bipartisan K-12 federal education law, explicitly requires that parents be meaningfully involved and consulted in the ‎development of state and school district education plans. These plans provide the ‎framework for how states and school districts will deliver education to elementary and high ‎school students. Additionally, the law requires that parents be involved in the creation of “state ‎report cards,” providing information on how schools in each state are performing – including ‎student achievement levels. The report cards ‎must be written and in an accessible way so that parents can take action to engage with their child’s school.

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K-12 Education Funding Has Doubled in Tennessee Since 1992

K-12 education is the top expenditure in Tennessee’s budget and has more than doubled, adjusted for inflation, since the current school funding plan began in 1992, a Sycamore Institute report shows.

Tennessee’s education funding model, called the Basic Education Program (BEP), is used to disperse state funds to individual school districts. Tennessee spent $5.2 billion on K-12 education in fiscal year 2020, while TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program and second-highest expense, cost the state $3.6 billion.

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DeVos Visits Nashville for Roundtable Discussion, Visit with Charter School Ranked as One of State’s Leaders in Academic Growth

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is hosting U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in Nashville Monday. The visit by DeVos will begin with a roundtable discussion with families, educators, stakeholders and local elected leaders, according to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Education. That roundtable discussion will be closed…

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Education Commissioner McQueen Convenes Testing Assessment Task Force

McQueen

The role of state tests should always be to supplement other feedback loops that teachers, parents, and districts use to get a more complete picture of a student’s development, including classroom performance, report cards, portfolios, performances, and other ways students show their development. State tests are not meant to be the sole driver of instructional decisions. The information from an assessment should provide educators, parents, and students with a better perspective on how the students are succeeding academically compared to their peers across Tennessee.

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