Parent Engagement, Not Just Involvement, Key to LCFF Success

Mar. 20, 2014 / By

New America Media, News Report, Anna Challet

For Sandy Mendoza, advocacy manager of the Los Angeles-based organization Families in Schools, the difference between parent involvement and parent engagement could make or break California’s new school funding law.

The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), she says, “is going to be an opportunity for us to help the parents become more than involved – rather, it’s becoming more engaged … Involvement means more what the district wants from parents [in order] to fit [the district’s] agenda, as opposed to engagement, which means really listening to what the parents want and what they need.”

Educators, advocates, and community members came together recently at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to discuss the new law. Over the next 8 years, education spending in California will increase, and more money will be allocated to districts with greater numbers of high-needs students. Districts will now have more flexibility in how they spend funds, but they’ll also be more accountable for the outcomes of their decisions. This spring, school districts are required to develop their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs), which detail how they’ll serve their high-needs students, and, crucially, must incorporate community input.

“Parents can make a difference when it comes to governance, when it comes to change,” said Mendoza. “They want to see transparency, they want accountability, and if we want to see LCFF succeed, it has to go hand in hand with authentic, meaningful parent engagement.”

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