ParentCamp Goes to Washington!

Update: ParentCamp participants coming to the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, October 26, should use the C Street entrance to the building. Online participants should head to the ParentCamp website.

Additionally, all ParentCamp participants are encouraged to connect and follow on Twitter: #ParentCampUSA@ParentCamp and @usedgov.

Engaging families in schools and learning is vital to ensuring that all our kids get a world-class education. Which is why we’re excited to announce the first-ever ParentCampUSA at the Department’s headquarters on October 26.

ParentCamp is a free “un-conference” that brings together parents, caregivers, community leaders, educators, and children to have conversations about how we can best support our students.

ParentCamp found its roots at Knapp Elementary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, when parents and educators came together to build relationships and create an opportunity to share great ideas from the field. Since 2010, school communities around the world have used the EdCamp and ParentCamp models to host their own events.

ParentCamp is about growing relationships and strengthening partnerships. It is about sharing, learning and networking. The focus is on what we ALL can do to make tomorrow better than today for our children.

The Department’s October 26, 2015 event will serve as a demonstration of how this type of “un-conference” model can be used to successfully engage families and communities in schools.

In typical ParentCamp fashion, discussions will be led by attendees who come from diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods, and who serve in a variety of roles in their educational community. To level the playing field, titles go out the window, and all voices are of equal value. Discussion leaders may begin the conversation and offer some initial resources, but it will be those in the room (and those following on social media) who will add the depth and much needed perspectives we need to improve outcomes for our nation’s children.

For those who cannot physically attend the October 26 event, there will be virtual options for participating and/or following along. In addition, the Department is planning regional ParentCamp events in cities across the country. We will share more on those proposed locations soon. If interested in hosting your own local ParentCamp simultaneously, you can find details on how to do so, on the main ParentCamp website, or by emailing ParentCamp founders Gwen Pescatore or Joe Mazza.

Find more details at the ParentCampUSA website.

Follow and connect on Twitter: #ParentCampUSA, @ParentCamp and @usedgov.


  1. It’s true that public schooling in the US got its foundation from heavy church involvement during the pioneer days. Candidly, just look at the private and even public colleges & universities that were once affiliated with religious denominations. But, I believe that the issue goes deeper, than what is on the surface. There are the democratic principles of engagement in terms of the rights & privileges of a citizen. Something that was denied black people for a long time in America only because the US Constitution or the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that mankind with black skin who were created by a Sovereign God, was only 3/5 human beings.

    Now, this wasn’t saying this! It was a bunch of white slave owners who are also were the Founding Fathers. So, there has been a lot of internal strife & toil within America every since its beginning. By the way, John Adams, the 2nd President of the USA was adamantly against slavery within the borders of the United States of America.

    So it was inevitable that one day a war would break out between the States of the South and North. And victory finally went to the Union
    troops who fought on the side of the federal government. That same Union Army became victorious, and with valor went into conquered territories of the South even before Appomattox when Lee surrendered to Grant. The bloody Civil War that America had fought had come to an end. And liberating the slave populations roughly between 6-4 million at that time was the next order of business.

    Interestingly, this liberation process had started even before the war ended because of a war policy conducted by all Yankee Generals in seeing to it that all slave plantations be transformed into Freedom Schools as much as possible. Yes, this was the act of planting seeds and help came from a lot of freedom loving white people from East Coast places like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. The instituting of these Freedom Schools were a big deal! And yes, these early forerunners, our the ancestors to poorly performing Inner City School Districts and their schools? Anyway, the key historical focus is on the semi-literate or illiterate freed slaves and His children. Sure, there was a bible background in all of this but you would be amazed on how much of the Holy Book was remembered rather Read Aloud!

    A native genius of those who many thought should have been “decimated souls” found a way out by seeking The Word …. Learning how to interpret the word …. And eventually propagating
    how to read the classically, such as, what a Doctor of Pedagogy would do in teaching the children of the poor. Remember, all of this is being done
    by descendants for the most part of chattel slaves and at least 40% of
    them are still on public assistance (TANF and SSI).

    Therefore, because of economic disparities, America still resembles in a modern way a society of the Rich and the Poor. Children in more affluent sectors of stable jurisdictions receive a different type of education than children of middle class or upper middle class parents who don’t use Private Schools. Clearly, this is an area of injustice and it’s the primary reason why parents of very low-income families, at least one of the and preferably the male (Father) or its equivalent should be able to attend Parent Camp.

    Statistics show more than an iota of evidence that many black boys have trouble with scholastics and citizens domains at the public school because there are not enough male authority figures, and definitely not enough black men in positions of authority. The US Department of Education is on record in stating that only 2% of licensed and certified teachers on a national scale is black males. That’s a doggone shame and I wonder just how much “institutional racism” that Secretary Duncan always points out is the culprit for the tragedy.

    Thus, we should try to morally work out this one. Why not see to it that a select number of black men from very low-income families receive full scholarships to attend Parent Camp. Other ethnic groups who are poor should have proportional representation at Parent Camp too! Again, so much by a Free Negro Class that existed even during America’s darkest hour of supporting slavery throughout its federal union from 1776-1863.

    Poignantly, the Emancipation Proclamation then establishing public schools for former slaves and their children and rules & regulations are set up to become policy and practice. Hopefully, that has now been the tradition and custom for at least the last 150 years, but still there’s a struggle of equality in the schools, while the paradox of America landing a man on the moon is an occurrence of national will.

    P.S. The Obama Administration can tolerate the complete vanishing of $54 million from the VA Budget in 2014. Why couldn’t a disadvantaged father who is also a veteran be allowed an all expense award to attend Parent Camp? Isn’t that a fair request or not?

  2. Parents going to Washington will be preceded by public schooling at the state and local levels already having traversed that route. But before public schooling it was the family and voluntary associations such as churches where learning lived.
    The problem with parental involvement, or its lack, is it has been made seemingly irrelevant with free and compulsory schooling. But with the withering of individual and family responsibility has come a costly and inefficient indoctrination system which is what public schooling is.

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