Within the space of just a few weeks in spring 2020, the pandemic exposed how inadequate and inequitable the U.S. educational system is when it comes to students from low-income families, many of whom are minorities. Now, more than ever, increasing the school involvement of minority parents and advocacy on the part of their children, has become very important.

• The achievement gap is expected to widen due to the pandemic, and school and minority families must work together to slow the growth of the gap. Communication between parents and teachers and other professionals must be improved going forward.

• Whether schools open in person, or take place virtually, I urge parents to call your children’s teachers weekly – if not daily, depending on how you think your children appear to be doing.

• Empower your children by involving them in discussions about their learning. Ask your children how they best learn, and listen to what they say. After all, they are the learners, and most likely they know how they learn best. This communication is the beginning of getting involved in your children’s education.

• In the U.S., decisions about schools are made on a local level. Your school board members and school administrators want to hear from you to help them make the best decisions they can about important subjects such as: should school take place virtually or in person this fall; what should be the role of School Resource Officers (SRO); how can minority students get the help they need to shrink the achievement gap; what help do your children need that they are not getting? Get to know who your school board representatives are and give them a call, and encourage other community members to do the same.

• In this trying time, states and school districts have to make fast, important decisions.

Please ask the school district office or your child’s school administrator how you can get involved.

Parental involvement and student achievement are closely connected. Students whose parents engage with their children’s education will do better in school. It is important to take concrete steps to initiate the collaborative process between schools and families.