Education

National Parents Union releases its ‘Family Bill of Rights’ to ensure an equity-infused education recovery

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 NPU co-founders, Alma Marquez (left) and Keri Rodrigues (right)


Published 05/18/2020 | Reading Time 7 min 16 sec

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Parents Union (NPU) today released its Family Bill of Rights, which was developed to ensure the voice of parents is heard loud and clear as the debate over when and how to reopen schools continues. The NPU coalition includes families from 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, representing parents of color, low-income parents, parents of children with special needs, LGBTQAI parents, single mothers and fathers, grandparents, formerly incarcerated parents, parents in recovery and traditionally-represented parents. 

“Our Family Bill of Rights sets forth a series of definitive recommendations necessary for an equity-infused education recovery,” said Keri Rodrigues, Founder and President of the National Parents Union. “Knowing the way the system has historically worked, the status quo warriors are going to seek to shut out parents from the conversation about how and when to reopen. We’re not going to let that happen. We will have a voice and schools will have no other choice but to listen. Our children have a right to a high-quality education, and we will not rest until they get one.” 

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The Family Bill of Rights is as follows:

  • Keeping Children, Families, and School Communities Safe and Healthy: School leaders and policymakers must engage with families in a collaborative, co-creation process regarding the timing and conditions needed to re-open the public school system from a health protection standpoint following the guidelines suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Personalized Learning Plans for a Trauma-Informed Recovery: Develop a new comprehensive assessment system when children return to school to determine a child’s strengths and challenges with a section to incorporate parent input since parents will have spent weeks and months as their child’s primary teacher. This assessment will be used to develop an Individualized Education Plan for re-entry and reassignment.

  • Remote/Emergency Learning – Now and in the Future: Schools must develop a remote learning plan at the beginning of the following school year with training and resources provided to teachers, parents and students. Schools must also provide necessary technology at this time to students including computers/laptops, built-in educational software, and access to Internet. Schools must guarantee multilingual access during remote learning periods for non-EFL families.

  • Equitable Education Financing: Schools must ensure that their funding is being used to finance quality education models including implementing brain-based instruction, special needs services and additional support for at-risk students. Given the budget challenges schools will face, there must be accountability frameworks in place to ensure the precious funds are being used for their intended purpose.

  • Investing Resources to Support Families: Schools should continue their free breakfast and lunch programs for economically disadvantaged families understanding that the need will increase for this service when schools reopen. Districts should partner with local organizations to lead wellness checks for students who may need additional support. 

NPU has convened a task force to work with schools across the country on these recommendations and additional measures that parents want implemented. For a complete look at the Bill of Rights, please click here

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NEW POLL

A new nationwide survey, also released today by NPU, asked parents who they would trust to determine if schools are safe to reopen and how important certain measures are for schools to take:

  • On the issue of who parents trust most to establish and evaluate school safety procedures, parents say that federal (CDC 24%), state (14%) and local (12%) public health officials are far more trustworthy than elected officials and representatives (state Governor 9%; President Trump 5%; State legislature 1%) or education officials (local school district leaders 8%; State Department of Education 5%; U.S. Department of Education 3%; my children’s school principal 2%). 

On the issue of how important certain measures are for schools to take: 

  • Require students and staff members who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to stay home for 14 days before returning to school (81% extremely or very important)

    • 56% of parents said this measure is absolutely necessary and if it’s not implemented, they will not send their kids to school 

  • Send out notices to parents of students who may have been exposed to a student or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19 (79% extremely or very important)

  • Provide all students with the technology needed for online learning at the beginning of the year in case they become ill or schools close again, including laptops or tablets and internet access (76% extremely or very important)

  • Provide face masks to all students and staff and replace the masks regularly (70% extremely or very important)

  • Provide an individualized education plan for each student based on an assessment of their academic and mental health needs, as well as input from their parents or guardians (65% extremely or very important)

  • Provide mental and emotional health assessments and counseling for students and staff (65% extremely or very important)

  • Stagger schedules so that there are fewer students in classrooms and desks can be spaced six feet apart (63% extremely or very important)

May 4-5, 2020 Survey of N=500 parents of public school students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade- Sampled from online web panel.

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ABOUT NATIONAL PARENTS UNION

The National Parents Union is a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States. NPU unites these organizations behind a common set of principles that put children and families at the center of the national education narrative. With delegates representing each of the 50 states, NPU disrupts the traditional role of parent voice in policy spaces and develops a new narrative that is inclusive of families from a wide variety of intersectional perspectives.

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