Supporting our schools is everyone's business - not just for those with kids in school

I'm an involved parent - some might say I'm too involved!

When I first began as a volunteer in my child's school, I was in a partnership mindset and the school was, too. The school principal set that tone and fostered the culture to support it, engaging families and community members in a process that was defined and well-communicated. This isn't the case for all schools.

High quality public education may be the focus of local, state, and national policy, but it's not yet a civil right. There are tremendous disparities in funding, facilities, and instructional resources across our nation's school districts, and this inequity underlies the poor outcomes that the No Child Left Behind law attempts to address.

But, learning happens everywhere: in before-school programs, after-school programs, in school, in pre-kindergarten programs, in community-based programs and faith-based programs. We can think of learning happening across a continuum.

As a result, our schools need everyone's help: parents, family members, community residents, local organizations, and anyone else whom we can engage in children's learning. From early childhood through high school, families make key contributions to student learning.

Family, school, and community partnership is not some "nice to have" - it's a necessity for school improvement and student success.