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August 25, 2009
Commentary from the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group on the Race to the Top Fund
National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group
HFRP endorsed the Working Group's recommendations and submitted its own to reinforce the importance of family engagement.
About the Race to the Top Fund
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the U.S. Department of Education recently announced the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund. This competitive grants program will award funds to State Education Agencies to encourage education innovation and improvement across four education reform areas described in ARRA (improving teacher effectiveness, promoting national standards, developing and implementing data collection, and turning around struggling schools).
The Fund will become the largest pot of discretionary funding for K-12 education reform in the history of the United States, and represents a historic opportunity for the federal government to create incentives for dramatic improvements in the nation’s schools.
The National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group's Commentary
The National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group, a collaborative of leaders in the family engagement field including Harvard Family Research Project’s (HFRP) Heather Weiss, submitted recommendations for the Race to the Top Fund’s proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria.
The National Working Group and Harvard Family Research project believe that family involvement is a critical strategy to ensuring that the Race to the Top Funds are spent to maximize their impact on student achievement and to achieving positive outcomes in the four reform areas. To this end, the National Working Group has submitted public comments to the Federal Register Notice regarding the Fund’s proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria.
The National Working Group’s recommendations provide a framework for elevating and integrating family involvement into how the Race to the Top Funds are disseminated, governed, and evaluated for effectiveness. The National Working Group believes that these recommendations will help increase systemic family, school, and community engagement to assist States’ efforts to close the achievement gap.
Update December 2009:
Commentary provided by the Working Group on the Race to the Top Fund contributed to changes in the program's final guidelines, including:
View all comments posted for the Race to The Top Fund
The Race to the Top program is posted in the Federal Register Notice. The notice and comment period is now open, which provides the public a chance to make comments and recommendations on proposed federal rules. To view comments and to add your own (the public comment period will close on August 28, 2009), visit the Race to The Top Fund’s Docket Folder Summary on Regulations.gov.
View comments submitted by HFRP
In addition to collaborating with the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group, HFRP submitted its own set of comments to complement those of the National Working Group and reinforce the message that family engagement should be a priority in applicants’ plans for using Race to the Top dollars. Read HFRP’s endorsement of the Working Group’s comments.
About The National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group
The National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group was created to inform educational policy on family engagement and in so doing, to improve educational opportunities for all children, from cradle to career. We present a broadened definition of family engagement and a platform to strengthen it in education reform efforts.
Free. Available online only.