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Parental involvement is an integral part of all Title I programs, including the Migrant Education Program. Research shows that parents play a significant role in the academic achievement of their children. Therefore, it is important for parents and schools to develop partnerships and build ongoing dialogues to improve student achievement. Title I supports parental involvement by enlisting individual parents to help their children do well in school. In order to receive MEP funds, local operating agencies must implement programs, activities, and procedures that effectively involve migrant parents. An LEA must:
Develop its comprehensive plan in consultation with parents;
Consult with parent advisory councils (PACs) regarding programs that are one school year in duration; and
Plan and operate the MEP in a manner that provides for the same parental involvement as is required in Section 1118.
Why is parental consultation in planning the MEP important at the local level?
As the first teachers of their children, parents know the needs of their children best and can provide insight into their children’s strengths and weaknesses. As such, migrant parents can play a pivotal role in planning the educational programs and projects in which their children participate. Involving migrant parents in planning the MEP also builds their capacity to assist in their children’s learning at home. In addition, parental involvement in the planning of the program enables parents to understand the program and have informed conversations with MEP and school staff regarding their children’s education. Through their participation in the planning process, migrant parents are also more likely to become advocates and supporters of the program because they have a personal stake in its success.What is the function of a Parent Advisory Council?
A PAC advises the local operating agency on concerns of migrant parents that relate to the planning, operation, and evaluation of MEP programs and projects in which their children participate. In particular, the SEA and local operating agency must consult with the PAC about:
The comprehensive assessment of the needs of migratory children to be served; and
The design of the comprehensive service delivery plan.
Having a PAC does NOT meet all the requirements of Section 1118. However, an active PAC may be an appropriate focal point of an agency's parental involvement efforts. For example, PACs may be used to:
Ensure full parental participation in MEP project planning, design, and implementation;
Convene an annual meeting of parents, at which school officials explain the MEP projects; and
Provide opportunities for regular parent meetings to gather input.
What does Section 1118 and 1304(c)(3)(a) require regarding parental involvement?
Section 1304(c)(3)(a) requires a local operating agency to conduct parental involvement activities “in a manner that provides for the same parental involvement as is required for programs and projects under Section 1118, unless extraordinary circumstances make such provision impractical.” The statute also requires parental involvement activities to be conducted in a format and language understandable to parents.
The parental involvement requirement in 1304(c)(3)(a) is stricter than in past years. Previously, the local operating agency only had to carry out the MEP “in a manner consistent with” section 1118 “to the extent feasible.” The current language of the statute creates a higher standard for complying with parental involvement requirements. Now, absent extraordinary circumstances, the local operating agency must follow the requirements of Section 1118 to be in compliance with Section 1304(c)(3)(a).
In general, Section 1118 requires the region to provide:
A written parental involvement policy;
Policy involvement of parents in an organized, ongoing, and timely way in the implementation of the MEP;
Capacity building of parents and district MEP staff for strong parental involvement; and
Effective access to parental involvement activities.