Family Involvement is a Right and a Responsibility
Today, as we have discussed, families are considered to be an important and essential component of the educational community. Family involvement and family-school partnerships are important to all educators. Through IDEA, families with children who have disabilities must be offered a great level of involvement in educational decision making concerning their children. IDEA (2004) guarantees families the right to:
- Unbiased education assessment
- Inclusion in the decisions concerning placement of their child
- Inclusion in the planning and development of an individual educational plan
- Confidential treatment of materials concerning their child
- Not participate if they decide
- Engage in mediation or a resolution session in an attempt to resolve disputes with the school
- Take schools and districts to a hearing for issues relating to the special education of their child
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also requires that schools afford parents certain rights. In fact, Section 504 and the IDEA guarantee that parents have specific legal rights related to educational services for their children. These rights are viewed not as the maximum level but as the beginning point for schools to assure family participation at the level the family chooses. School personnel should go beyond the minimum legal rights to develop true collaborative relationships with family members.
Another major federal legislation requiring the involvement of family members is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This law “is a landmark in education reform designed to improve student achievement and change the culture of America’s schools.” (U. S. Department of Education, 2002) The act requires schools to provide extensive information on students’ progress so that parents know where their child stands academically. It also provides information to parents related to the performance of their child’s school and provides opportunities for parents to receive tutoring for their child or even transfer their child to an adequately performing school in some circumstances (U.S. Department of Education, 2004).
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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