Students today face a future of expanded opportunities and broadened horizons. They also face the pressures of a job market characterized by ever-changing technology and growing international competition.
We can prepare our students for the future by acting now on what we know: Thirty years of research show that when children can count on family and community involvement in their education, it makes a significant difference in their learning.1
The America Goes Back to School campaign is a great opportunity to build awareness and support for family and community involvement in education, and to work with others to improve education in your community.
Started by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley in 1995 and sponsored by the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, America Goes Back to School encourages families and communities to make the most of the back-to-school time by launching or expanding family-school-community partnerships. Thousands of family-school partners, community organizations, businesses, and religious groups celebrate their partnerships and renew their commitment to children's learning during the back to school months of August through October.
America Goes Back to School is based on some key facts:
- Students who have one or both parents involved in their education are more likely to get As and less likely to be suspended or expelled or to repeat a grade. Fathers' involvement appears to be especially significant to students getting mostly As.
- Teachers say the single most important thing public schools need to help students learn is involved parents.
- Almost half of all Americans say they would be very comfortable volunteering to be a mentor or to help in some way at a local school. Yet only one-third of Americans say they regularly participate in volunteer groups that do charity work or community service.
- Over 60 percent of Americans believe that most parents face times when they need help raising their kids, often because they are so stretched for time.
Key Areas of Education
Take advantage of this volunteer spirit in America to encourage people to get involved in an existing partnership or launching a new one that focuses on improving children's learning. As partners, you can help stage a public event to build greater public awareness of and support for the benefits of family involvement in educating children and of education for Americans of all ages.
Get your entire community to rally around a key school issue such as:
- Making schools safe and drug free
- Recruiting and preparing quality teachers
- Modernizing schools
- Expanding after-school and summer programs
- Getting high standards into every classroom
- Developing pathways to college and careers
Whatever you do-whether you organize a tutoring program in reading or a year long mentoring program in math-remember to focus on children's learning.
Emphasize the importance of family and community involvement in education, and the need for high standards in every classroom in our schools.
Prepare your children for the future. Challenge young minds and they will achieve--they will soar! Come on, America--let's go back to school and help! After all, better education is everybody's business.
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