Forum Highlights and Videos
Closing Session: Reflections about FSCE policies from USDE
In her closing remarks, Carmel Martin, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at USDE, noted that the Department plans not only to preserve and expand dedicated funding for family engagement, but also to go beyond dedicated funding streams to think about how to embed family engagement throughout the Department’s proposals in systemic, ongoing, and meaningful ways. Martin echoed the comments from other USDE representatives about the federal government’s role in contributing to the problem of fragmented family engagement efforts by offering small, siloed funding streams with narrow purposes and strict requirements, rather than offering larger, more flexible funding that empowers families and local leaders to design strategies that work for them.
Acknowledging that family engagement is a “critical, non-negotiable component of a comprehensive strategy to improve our schools,” Martin argued for the need to set aside additional federal funds to help scale up promising approaches to family engagement in order to foster greater innovation, test new approaches, and identify effective practices.
The themes and recommendations highlighted in this report are meant to help USDE weigh its options for how to carry out the plans Martin outlined. A systemic approach to FSCE is facilitated by embedding family engagement throughout the Department’s proposals. Flexible, blended funding will enable greater cross-program and cross-agency planning and implementation. Meaningful indicators of successful FSCE will help build a robust research and evaluation system that can identify and promote effective family engagement practices. These and other recommendations contained in this report have the power to help transform and elevate the role of FSCE in education reform.