EDUCATION ADVOCATES JOIN FORCES TO CONDEMN GROWING DIVISIVE RHETORIC IN SCHOOLS, POLITICS
The National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement and 20 other organizations seek to reclaim family engagement as an essential strategy for equity
ALEXANDRIA, VA (October 26, 2022) - The National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE), the nation’s first professional membership association focused solely on advancing family, school, and community engagement, condemns what it calls “exclusionary narratives that deploy divisive tactics” to misrepresent family engagement as a strategy to pull communities apart, rather than bring them together. In a powerful public statement to launch its “Healing the Growing Divide” initiative, supported by 20 other education organizations, NAFSCE points to a “current political narrative which misrepresents family engagement” characterized by “an array of polarizing discussions which have divided the school community - placing families, teachers, administrators, support staff, community organizations and others on conflicting sides.”
“This is contrary to what family engagement is,” the statement goes on to say. “We believe that authentic family, school, and community engagement does not seek to alienate any families or students from receiving an inclusive and culturally responsive public education.”
NAFSCE’s “Healing the Growing Divide” initiative seeks to reclaim family engagement as an essential strategy for advancing equity and inclusion. Instead, in a growing number of communities and school districts, efforts to ban books, alienate certain families and students, marginize teachers, and diminish the professionalism of educators have resulted in a misrepresentation of family engagement as a strategy designed to drive a wedge between the many stakeholders whose very collaboration is essential to student success. Specifically, NAFSCE points to:
Using one group of families to speak out on issues that explicitly attack or exclude other students and families.
Using families as watchdogs against educators instead of as partners.
Forcing educators to explicitly exclude or to stifle the inclusion of students and families, particularly marginalized communities, due to their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or in other discriminatory ways, through the curriculum being taught, restrictions on curriculum, the language they are allowed to use, or through other teaching practices.
NAFSCE and its partners are calling on supporters to speak out against narratives and tactics that divide and exclude. Signing onto the statement and similarly urging others to stand for authentic family, school, and community engagement are:
20th Legislative District, Illinois
The 1647, Inc.
Children’s Equity Coalition
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
Council for Accreditation of Education Preparation
The Education Trust
The Federation for Children with Special Needs
The Flamboyan Foundation
National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment
National Family Support Network
One Green Apple, LLC
Parent Education For Exceptional Children
Parent Institute for Quality Education
The Parents’ Place of MD
Parents for Public Schools of Greenwood & Leflore County
[Ohio] State Support Team Region 7
Others can sign the statement of support by visiting nafsce.org/page/