National PTA Attends Family Engagement Symposium at White House

National PTA participated in the White House Symposium on Transformative Family Engagement last month.

Hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the White House, the goal of the July 31 symposium was to expand the national conversation about transformative family engagement as a major contributor to children’s school readiness and success.

Philanthropic, research and other experts met with a small group of administration officials—including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz and Deputy Assistant to the President for Education Roberto Rodriguez—to discuss achieving educational equity for children, particularly those from low-income families, through transformative family engagement.

Transformative family engagement is a shared responsibility of families, schools and communities to help students learn and achieve. It is a continuous process from birth to third grade and beyond, and occurs across all the settings where children learn—creating environments that support parents and families as strong leaders and advocates for their children.

During the symposium, participants examined successful family-engagement practices and the barriers that parents and caregivers might face when attempting to engage in their children’s education, highlighting the differences between “traditional” family-engagement methods, where parents are not usually seen as partners in learning and “transformative” engagement strategies.