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 Where to find help for a child in Michigan, Anywhere in the U.S., or Canada
 
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Last Updated: 10/31/2017
 

 Ask the Attorney with John Brower, J.D.

 

QUESTION: I have just discovered that my child's Title I funded school has not complied with the parent involvement requirement since 1996. The principal wrote and disseminated a home/school compact on her own without ever holding a parent meeting or even consulting the PTO organization. Parent involvement in this school is virtually non-existent and clearly, the administration prefers it that way. What recourse do concerned parents have?

ANSWER: There are a number of programs that are funded by the federal government and commonly referenced to as “Title I” programs. That includes Title I – Part A though Part I. All target different segments of the student population that Congress has determined needs additional support due to poverty, poor schools, or other qualifying criteria. The federal Office of Student Achievement and School Accountability (SASA) in the federal Department of Education is responsible for the administration of the majority of Title I funds.


The statute and regulations relating to the requirements the state (and through them the local school) must meet to qualify to receive Title I funds include, among other requirements, the following:
SEC. 1118. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT.


(a) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY POLICY-

(1) IN GENERAL- A local educational agency may receive funds under this part only if such agency implements programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents in programs assisted under this part consistent with this section. Such programs, activities, and procedures shall be planned and implemented with meaningful consultation with parents of participating children.

(2) WRITTEN POLICY- Each local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall develop jointly with, agree on with, and distribute to, parents of participating children a written parent involvement policy. The policy shall be incorporated into the local educational agency's plan developed under section 1112, establish the agency's expectations for parent involvement, and describe how the agency will —

(A) involve parents in the joint development of the plan under section 1112, and the process of school review and improvement under section 1116;

(B) provide the coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist participating schools in planning and implementing effective parent involvement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance;

(C) build the schools' and parents' capacity for strong parental involvement as described in subsection (e);

(D) coordinate and integrate parental involvement strategies under this part with parental involvement strategies under other programs, such as the Head Start program, Reading First program, Early Reading First program, Even Start program, Parents as Teachers program, and Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, and State-run preschool programs;

(E) conduct, with the involvement of parents, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the parental involvement policy in improving the academic quality of the schools served under this part, including identifying barriers to greater participation by parents in activities authorized by this section (with particular attention to parents who are economically disadvantaged, are disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are of any racial or ethnic minority background), and use the findings of such evaluation to design strategies for more effective parental involvement, and to revise, if necessary, the parental involvement policies described in this section; and

(F) involve parents in the activities of the schools served under this part.

Note: Other following sections omitted.

Therefore, when parents have issues regarding a claimed failure of a school district to implement the Act’s requirements for parental participation, they have a number of choices. According to Section 1118(A) (2)(E) [above], there is a requirement for the local district to annually solicit parent input. When I served on the Board of Education of a large school district in SE Michigan, we held such a public hearing annually. At that time, we received the program and heard parent and staff comments regarding the program, along with discussing any changes the administration recommended.

 
Another alternative is to file a written compliant with the appropriate federal or staff person who is responsible for requiring compliance with the Act. This is similar to the administrative complaint process a parent of a special education child can elect to use regarding the implementation of an IEP. On the federal level, in the SASA office the last information I have indicates that the person responsible for what is called “technical assistance” is David Jackson - Technical Asst. Monitoring/GPRA who can be reached at David.Jackson@ed.gov.  On the state level it was Renée DeMars-Johnson, the Coordinator of Early Childhood & Parenting Programs (517) 373-8483 or via e-mail at DeMars-JohnsonR@michigan.gov.
I would suggest any complaint be in writing and sent via a method where a receipt is generated.


John F. Brower, JD
Education Law Center, PLLC
www.edlawcenter.com
 

 

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