“Raise the Bar: Lead the World” is the U.S. Department of Education’s call to action to transform P-12 education and unite around what really works. Raising the bar means recognizing that our nation already has what it takes to continue leading the world. Through initiatives such as Parent Empowerment Pop-Ups, which are interactive sessions where parents and Department of Education officials have the opportunity to meet face-to-face, we are creating opportunities to harness human capital and social of parents across the country. inviting them to play a leading role in creating effective and sustainable support systems to meet the needs of students. Our efforts are rooted in the belief that parents want the best for their children and are willing and willing to support students’ dreams.
We understand that we need to walk alongside the caregivers, educators and community organizations who care for students every day in order to have an impact. For this reason, we’ve hosted parent empowerment pop-ups in locations ranging from a recreation center in the heart of a downtown Mississippi neighborhood to a community meeting space on Shoshone-tribal lands. Bannock, Idaho. By meeting parents where they are, we remove barriers to participation and encourage parents to not only sit at the table, but also lead the conversation.
By design, Parent Empowerment pop-ups integrate key discussion topics such as family-school partnerships, learning recovery, and school safety into a town hall-style meeting that shifts the power from policy makers to parents. The Pop-Ups also offer design thinking activities intended to encourage an organic dialogue between parents and Ministry of Education officials. We’ve found that this combination of guided and free-form structure encourages parents to share relevant stories, speak openly about underlying complexities, and offer thoughtful recommendations.
In Atlanta, Georgia, parents are prioritizing creating a safe learning ecosystem that embraces fathers who want to support their children’s educational journey. They advocate for more frequent and authentic communication from educational institutions. In Biloxi, Mississippi, parents suggest that life skills be incorporated into the curriculum and express empathy for educators, who they say need to receive more emotional support and be empowered to teach beyond of the test. In Dallas, Texas, when tasked with one of the signature activities featured in each Pop-Up, which is to rethink the education landscape in 30 minutes, parents crafted impressive mission statements and proposed innovative ideas. Their recommendations are aimed at providing more exposure opportunities for students to learn about professional careers, empowering staff to better serve all students, especially those with disabilities. In Fort Hall, Idaho, when tasked with the same challenge, parents came up with a curriculum that incorporated their native language and traditions to give their youngsters pride in their heritage. They also focused on opportunities to create more equitable educational outcomes by leveraging the nuances of their community as strengths. In Kansas City, Missouri, parents want the opportunity to be treated as teaching partners; they want to be trained, developed and empowered to support student learning at home.
The Ministry of Education is grateful for the trust and partnership that parents, caregivers and educators have shown at each Pop-Up. We are committed to elevating and amplifying the themes and ideas that have been captured throughout this initiative as we continue to raise the bar and work together to help students achieve their dreams.