Education Department Allocates $5 Million for Parent-Teacher Engagement

September 27, 2013 6:44 pm Last Updated: September 27, 2013 6:44 pm

NEW YORK—The New York City Department of Education allocated $5 million towards a new parent-teacher engagement program on Sept. 27.

The funds will be used to provide 30-minute parent-teacher sessions for parents of all children who received unsatisfactory grades on the latest Common Core exam for third- to eighth-graders. Teachers will be paid for the time they spend with parents and will receive professional development and materials to help them communicate with the parents, according to Natasha Capers, a parent leader with the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ).

The program will be implemented in 90 days, according to Capers.

“The little pieces of advice that I have gotten from my child’s teacher have made all the difference. They tell me words to practice with [my kids] or games they can play on the computer to improve their skills,” Rocio Espada, a parent of four children, said. “I need more advice like this.”

When the DOE released scores for the Common Core tests in August, less than a third of New York City’s third- to eighth-graders passed the exam. Parent leaders at CEJ demanded at the time that the DOE do more to help parents and children adjust to the new Common Core curriculum and tests.

The DOE gave CEJ an opportunity to make a proposal for a program. CEJ eventually found a parent-teacher engagement model that worked in Arizona and proposed it to the DOE last month. The DOE initially declined to support the program, but reversed course on Sept. 23, and informed CEJ that funds have been allocated.