The Illinois PTA has been asked to serve on the ESSA committee with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Matthew John Rodrigues, our State president has been attending those meetings as the Illinois PTA Representative.
Now we, parents and families, have the opportunity to tell law makers what measures a student success for you. Email the Illinois State Board of Education ESSA Committee at ESSA@ISBE.NET.

In your email tell them what information is important to you to determine whether your child is on track or needs additional support? What does a successful school look like to you? If your child(ren) are out of school what information do you think would have helped you as a parent?

Email them today at ESSA@ISBE.NET

This year’s legislative conference and visit to Capitol Hill was very exciting and successful.  On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. This law replaces the Reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) previously known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).


Now that you have seen the video, you need to know that the new law includes key provisions for family engagement.

On March 14th, the appropriations committee of Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Services (LHHS) subcommittee handles education funding will be meeting regarding the budget for the new ESSA law.

Our “Ask” to the legislators is to commit to appropriate  $10 million dollars to Statewide Family Engagement Centers in FY2017.

We have bi-partisan support in the House by Representative Mark DeSaulnier(D-CA) , Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson(R-PA) and Representative Lou Barletta (R-PA) but not in the Senate. In the Senate letter signatories are Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

We want bi-partisan support, which means both the Republican and Democratic support because all the evidence makes it CLEAR, parental involvement and engagement directly affects student’s outcomes.

How does this impact us? Title 1 (Section 1116) Parent and Family Engagement requires

  • School districts to have a written parent and family engagement policy.
  • School districts must reserve at least 1% of funds for family engagement

The use of the funds for family engagement must be on one of the following

  • Professional development
  • Home and community programs
  • Sharing best practices
  • Collaborating with organizations

Highlights of Title IV (Part E) Family Engagement Centers include

  • A reauthorized and improved version of Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) program in No Child Left Behind
  • Competitive grant program to statewide organizations or a consortia of statewide organizations

Information on the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC’s)

  • They will work with state and local level agencies to support family engagement
  • Provide professional development on evidence-based and effective family engagement strategies
  • Provide direct services to families on how to effectively work with their child’s school and teachers

It was great to see the Senate in action at the Capitol I had an amazing experience in D.C. I hope all of you get the opportunity to go someday.

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez