Lawmakers: State Should Get Involved in Getting Parents Involved in Schools

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Educators say there's no denying the positive impact a parent's involvement can have on their success in school. Now some lawmakers say the state needs to get involved in getting parents more involved.

Web portals, newsletters, emails -- School District 51 says they're just a few of the tools it uses to keep parents engaged in their children's education.

"The more involved a parent seems to be, we see greater levels of academic success," said Jeff Kirtland, spokesperson for School District 51.

Success that lawmakers like State Representative Crisanta Duran, (D) Denver, want to see in every corner of Colorado.

"We've been looking at the educational system and ways that we can reform it to make sure that we're actually producing students that can compete in the 21st century," said Duran.

Last month, she introduced House Bill 1126, which encourages school districts to implement policies that make it easier for parents to keep tabs on their student's performance and communicate with their schools. Additionally, school districts would be require to notify and take input from parents whenever their schools are declared to be low performing.

"What this bill really seeks to do is encourage school districts and schools to give parents the tools they need to help their children," said Duran.

The original version of the bill required school districts to take specific steps like creating an online portal parents could access. But because of looming budget cuts to K-12 education that provision was dropped.

District 51 says although state mandates may not be the best way to go, it can appreciate what the bill is trying to do.

"It's hard to legislate parents' involvement in a school," said Kirtland. "But to have the conversation out there and organize around an effort to engage parents is helpful."

District officials say they already do many of the things the bill asks of them. With Parent Bridge, for example, parents can go online, view their child's grades and attendance, communicate directly with teachers, and monitor their child's progress.

"We really want parents to choose to be engaged in their child's learning," said Kirtland. "That's when it really makes a difference."

House Bill 1126 was recently approved by a committee and now goes to the House floor. A vote is expected next week.

Duran says the bill has bipartisan support and that she remains confident it will be signed into law.

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