Secretary Duncan on Family Engagement

Great family engagement programs will never be developed in Washington said Secretary Duncan, who answered a couple Facebook questions this week in the video below. Arne’s statement comes in response to a question regarding the importance of family engagement programs in helping students be successful.  He notes that ED is seeking to double funding for family engagement programs, with a focus on the programs that work at the local level.

Arne also responds to a comment he received from a teacher who had found the importance of 4-H in a student’s life.

Don’t hesitate to join the conversation in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.


  1. Poverty is a major concern. In my 44 years of education, it has been the number one factor in a students educational endeavors. Students who live in poverty ususlly do poorly in school. Thier priority is on survival – basic needs (food, clothing, and security). After all these have been met a student will place an importance on education.
    Our public school systems do not address this issue to the extent that it needs to be. A hungry child can not focus in school. He is just worried where his next meal is coming from.
    I would like to discuss this matter farther with Mr. Duncan to devise a way to address this situation.

  2. Family enagement is a key component in the sucess of child, however during my 30 year experience in education I find this component missing in some families. We are expected to raise the bar in education and most educator welcome the challenge. A superientendent once asked “how can I help in assisting your students and your school”. I will take any child and guide them to success, my obstacle are the parents that refuse to engage the schools or to engage in a combative methods. Parents that refuse to “be responsible parents”. It is not that parents do not care, I just see parents that do not know how to parent.

  3. I recently sent in invitation to attend our National Conversation on Family Engagement in Education to your office email. I hope that you received it. I would like to send it again thorough this source. We will have PIRC directors, teachers, administrators, parents and family engagement experts on the call. We would like you or your representative to listen to this call, then perhaps you would accept an invitation to be interviewed on a future call. Invitation to follow. Thank you for your consideration.

    Donald Converse
    Educational Development Director
    Family Friendly Schools

    • The Best Alternative To Firing Teachers . . .

      Attention: School District Leadership, PIRC Directors, Community Based Organizations, State, City and County Government Education Leaders!


      Presenting the Family Friendly Schools’

      Teleconference Continuing Series:

      “A National Conversation on Family Engagement”

      Last month Family Friendly Schools welcomed guests from 10 states to our first teleconference of the year. Everyone on the call agreed that the subject of Family and Community Engagement is getting more focus nationally, and it’s about time! It is time that we open the discussion beyond our own communities to the rest of the country to confirm that we see more action when families, schools, and communities work together. Saving teachers is only the beginning.

      Our next teleconference will be a creative planning call. We will have a half hour of discussion on ideas while concurrently you talk to us via e-mail with questions and suggestions. At the end of the 30 minutes, we will open the call line for a dialogue based on your e-mail comments.
      This passionate commitment to Family Engagement is based years of research and over 15 years of practical work in the field. Family Friendly Schools wants to help you create the kind of culture in your schools and communities that encourages collaboration with teachers and administrators, leading to learning success for every student.
      FFS’ national conversations on Family Engagement are not about policy, nor about a methodology –the calls are about what is working within schools, in families, and in communities when family engagement becomes a part of the culture. These calls are simply bi-monthly conversations with one or more of the people who are working in the area of Family Engagement and how they were able to raise test scores, lower absenteeism and increased graduation rates. Some conversations will introduce you to calls with national experts on a particular family engagement topic. Some calls will feature a school-level practitioner of family engagement who has seen a real turn around in their school and community. We will also offer a chance to hear parents talking about what a difference family engagement at their schools has made in their lives.

      Our next teleconference is: May 20th, 2011 at: 2:00 p.m. EST/11:00 PST
      You can join us by sending an e-mail R.S.V.P. to: .

      Once we receive your request, we will then send you an invitation with the conference call number and access code. Family Engagement in education is a powerful movement that will only succeed through powerful partnerships.
      We look forward to you joining us with your input!

    • @Bill – The Safe Schools/Healthy Students website provides the following information for FY2011:

      Funds available to support the SS/HS program have been greatly reduced in FY 2011. Funds appropriated will be used to make continuation awards to the current 89 (2008 and 2009) SS/HS grantees.

      Congress has yet to pass an appropriations bill for FY2012. For more information on Safe Schools/Healthy Students, and to stay up-to-date on FY2012 visit

  4. You talk about families because they are the most important factor in a child’s education. Yet, you place all the responsibility for these family’s kids on teachers and schools. It can’t work.

    We need to address poverty–poverty is the cause of parents not doing all those things you do with your children (except the private school part; that’s where you and your ilk differ from most Americans, making you an outsider and out of touch with the realities facing families and traditional public schools/teachers).

    You have received hundreds of pointed comments on your open letter to us teachers. We feel condescended to, disrespected, and we let you know it. You have ignored us, as usual.

    Americans are forgiving, to a fault. Step up, correct your trajectory, and retire respected.

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