State lawmakers and educational insiders talked Monday about ways to create and sustain family, school and community engagement in children’s education.
Lawmakers, including House Education committee chair Bob Behning of Indianapolis, say the recent change to the state’s school accountability standards – grading each institution A through F – has helped increase parental interest and promote involvement from local businesses.
“And because those employers need good, quality employees when they graduate from school, they got more involved and helped lift all the schools’ scores,” Behning says.
Indianapolis Representative Mary Ann Sullivan says she wants to see the state Department of Education become more of a leader in directing schools to initiate and engage in family and community involvement practices.
“Designating schools as an ‘Indiana Family-Friendly School’ so that there would be an incentive and a recognition that you would, you know, be evaluated, your school would be evaluated and it would be given a great seal of approval by the state of Indiana,” Sullivan says.
Behning says the challenge lies in developing evaluation standards for community and family involvement. And both he and Sullivan stress that it cannot just be the responsibility of schools. They say parents and community groups must also work to create engagement.