State Laws on Family Engagement in Education National PTA Reference Guide
The National Parent Teacher Association developed this publication as a tool for State Parent
Teacher Associations and other family and child advocates to increase systemic, effective
family engagement in all of our nation’s public schools. Family engagement in education is a
critical strategy for ensuring students’ academic achievement, graduation from high school,
and overall success in life. Low levels of family engagement in schools must be addressed
at the federal, state, and local levels through the development of sound public policy and
implementation, evaluation, and replication of best practices.
Implementation of state policies at the local school level is among the most critical components
of achieving greater family engagement in education. To accomplish this, state legislatures
can promote family engagement in education by requiring State Education Agencies
(SEAs) to develop effective policy that, in turn, governs activities of the Local Education
Agencies (LEAs), or school districts.
The purpose of this reference guide is two-fold. First, it provides families and advocates
with information on family engagement provisions within state education laws so that they
can better advocate for their children’s education on the school and district levels. Second, it
guides policymakers’ and advocates’ development of their legislative reform initiatives as well
as their efforts to monitor the implementation of laws already in place. The reference guide
provides key facts, background, analysis, noteworthy statutes, and policy recommendations
for crafting successful family engagement legislation at the state level. Finally, the reference
guide contains a survey of laws including legal citations pertaining to family engagement in
education in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
This reference guide is structured so that you have information at your fingertips in order
to be an effective advocate with a reputation for being a responsive and a credible resource
to policymakers. The format allows you to quickly and easily navigate the guide to find your
state’s laws on family engagement. The guide is organized into six topics: family engagement
laws and policies; state grant and award programs for family engagement; labor laws
regarding parental participation in school activities; family engagement in early childhood
education and literacy programs; family engagement targeting children and youth in highrisk
situations; and family engagement for families with English Language Learners (ELLs).
State PTA leadership and child advocates can use the report to:
1. Educate PTA leadership, child and family advocates, state and local education leaders,
superintendents, principals, family outreach coordinators, Title I directors, and other
educators on state statutes on family engagement in education.
2. Train families on federal and state laws affecting family engagement so that they can
successfully advocate for their children at the school, district, and school board levels.
3. Monitor Implementation of current state and federal laws on family engagement in
education and partner with State Education Agencies and Local Education Agencies to
ensure that the law is translated into effective policy and practice.
4. Identify gaps and areas within state laws that could be developed and strengthened, using
the Essential Components of Systemic Family Engagement in Education Laws and
the noteworthy statutes identified in the report as a framework.
5. Develop a policy agenda and legislative language to support effective family engagement
6. Build Coalitions among stakeholders, including school boards, teachers unions, universities,
community and faith-based organizations, and businesses to advance a family engagement
in education agenda.
7. Advocate for state laws that increase family engagement in education and use state-bystate
data in the report to support your policy agenda.
8. Share and Replicate effective state and district level advocacy strategies with other State
and local PTAs and state child advocates.