Lawmakers Push For More Parent Involvement In Schools

Indianapolis Representative Mary Ann Sullivan says an "Indiana Family-Friendly School" designation would encourage parent involvement in schools.

Templeton School

Photo: Indiana Public Media

Indiana lawmakers are trying to get parents more involved in schools.

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.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Doug-Martin/100002046218779 Doug Martin

    Mary Ann Sullivan is a part of the hedge fund-run Democrats for Education Reform, a fake group of rich white men gung-ho to privatize our schools.  Too bad Sullivan doesn’t support real parents in indiana.

  • Gg04

    And how do you define “real parents” Doug? You should know I am a member of INDEFR and a woman and not white.  And a public school parent. 

  • Larrywgrau

    Not a fake group, we are very real, and not rich white men – a majority of our members are women and quite a few are teachers, and we are farily evenly split racially as well as financially… and last but not least, we have no objective to privatize public education.  Sorry our membership, goals, leadership and principles don’t fit so well with how you would like to sterotype us.  Why don’t we focus on the issues instead, and maybe rather than name-calling you could start by sharing your ideas for engaging parents and improving our public schools?  While you are at it, you could define what a “real parent” is, since almost of our members are parents too, and we are curious why we aren’t “real.” Thanks.

    Larry Grau
    Indiana Democrats for Education Reform

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