Bob Altieri: LCAP is cornerstone of parent involvement in the education of their children
We are in epic times of change in education with the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Under the new LCAP, parents, more than ever, need to be informed and get involved.
The LCAP, which is a critical part of the new local funding formula, requires stakeholder input, so schools must get information from parents regarding the programs, services and supports they want to see at their schools. This is a good thing.
When parents are involved in the education of their children, the results are clearly obvious, according to decades of research conducted by the Parent Teachers Association. Family engagement is one of the most important factors in helping students succeed in school. Parents, families, and other caring adults provide the primary educational environment for children early in life and can reinforce classroom learning throughout the school years.
The three major factors of parent involvement in the education of their children are: parents’ beliefs about what is important, necessary and permissible for them to do with and on behalf of their children; the extent to which parents believe that they can have a positive influence on their children’s education; and parents’ perceptions that their children and school want them to be involved.
Although parents may not know the best ways to help their children with their education, with guidance and support, they may become increasingly involved in home learning activities and find themselves with opportunities to teach, to be models for, and to guide their children.
Our schools can provide this guidance. After all, they are the education experts.
In January 2014, the State Board of Education issued guidelines for how school districts should “meaningfully engage” parents, students and other community members in the plan. For example, school districts will be expected to involve parents in a timely manner so that they can effectively contribute to the development of the plan. Districts will also have to show what changes were made to the plan in response to input from parents and other stakeholders and to show how that input contributed to improved outcomes for students. Parent involvement in this process is therefore an important component in making the new law work.
Many parents are indeed involved in their children’s education, but are they armed with the best tools, and are their concerns being voiced in the proper channels so that the system of education can work more efficiently?
Research shows that parent involvement by itself can lead to gains, but when paired with other types of school improvements, its effects can be even greater. Outcomes will depend on many factors, including the particular way parents are involved, the achievement measures used to measure academic outcomes (e.g., grades or test scores), the academic subjects that are being measured (e.g., math or reading), and the socioeconomic background of students.
LCAP is the cornerstone to accomplish the goal of not only increasing parent involvement with the schools, but to foster a healthy partnership and cooperation among teachers, parents and community members. This provides the social resources needed for broad-based work on specific conditions present in the school and the challenges involved in improving student learning. It will likely take some time for this process to evolve, but such changes, or perhaps paradigm shifts, often do.
“The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in a child’s home.” — William Temple
Bob Altieri is currently serving his fifth term as trustee on the Nevada County Board of Education.
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