Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's a PIRC?

I've seen this statement in my Twitter stream today so I took a look and this is what I found.  

Take 1/2 a min: Tell Obama admin NOT to Elim Sole Program that Involves Parents in Child's #Education

I have never in my life heard of a PIRC until this week.  The acronym stands for Parental Information and Resource Centers.  According to the PTA action alert linked above, there is one in every state and territory.  Like I said, I've never heard of it before.

What if, what we are doing in public education isn't working?
What if, the PIRCs need to be eliminated?  
What if, changing some things would be a good idea?
What if, informing and sourcing parents is a local issue?
What if, the PTA changed their slogan from "Every child. One Voice." to something else; because every child is unique and has his/her own special needs, even those not labeled as "special needs."

If anything, I have found the PTA action alerts to be overly reactionary.  The PIRCs are not, in my opinion, the only way to get parents involved.  I would argue that they are not a way to get parents involved at all.  Involving parents happens locally.  


  1. Information on PIRC: The Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) program is a discretionary grant program funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement. In 2006 PIRCs were awarded to serve statewide needs. PIRCs now provide both regional and statewide services and disseminate information to parents on a statewide basis.

    Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) help implement successful and effective parental involvement policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student academic achievement and that strengthen partnerships among parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and other school personnel in meeting the education needs of children.

    Sec. 5563 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires the recipients of PIRC grants to: serve both rural and urban areas; use at least half their funds to serve areas with high concentrations of low-income children; and use at least 30 percent of the funds they receive for early childhood parent program.

    Centers must include activities that establish, expand, or operate early childhood parent education programs and typically engage in a variety of technical assistance activities designed to improve student academic achievement, including understanding the accountability systems in the state and school districts being served by a project. Specific activities often include helping parents to understand the data that accountability systems make available to parents and the significance of that data for such things as opportunities for supplemental services and public school choice afforded to their children under Sec. 1116 of the ESEA.

    Projects assist parents to communicate effectively with teachers, principals, counselors, administrators, and other school personnel; and help parents become active participants in the development, implementation, and review of school improvement plans.

    Additionally, projects generally develop resource materials and provide information about high quality family involvement programs to families, schools, school districts, and others through conferences, workshops, and dissemination of materials. Projects generally include a focus on serving parents of low-income, minority, and limited English proficient (LEP) children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools.

    On Monday, February 1, the Obama Administration released its Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11), which included a historic $3.5 billion increase for programs under the Department of Education. Despite the monumental increase in education funding, the elimination of direct funding for Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) has raised serious concerns among advocates for family engagement in education.

    The budget request proposes the consolidation of PIRCs, along with three other programs, into what would be known as the Expanding Educational Options program. Under this consolidation, PIRC funding for FY 11 would be eliminated, essentially dismantling the sole federal program focused on family and parental engagement in education. The National PTA, as the nation's largest child advocacy association, is working closely with both Congress and the Obama Administration in order to restore this critical program and direct funding toward research-based strategies that engage families in education to improve academic achievement. Among these programs: ESEA, IDEA, CCSSI, JJDPA and the Child Nutrition Act. If you would like to learn more about PTA's advocacy on the federal level, you can find the 2010 Public Policy Agenda posted here:
    And the State laws Report on Family Engagement in Education here:

  2. Sorry. Not sure why that posted as 'anonymous?' Meant to post as @krzimmer to try to answer your Twitter post.