At TalkingPoints, addressing learning loss in students, particularly those from under-resourced communities, is core to our mission. We believe the critical strategy to narrow these widening gaps that demands the attention of the entire field – from families and teachers to superintendents and philanthropic funders – is investment in family engagement to support student success and wellbeing.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published an op-ed by Stephanie Sharp and Ambika Kapur, two impact officers from our generous funders at Overdeck Family Foundation and Carnegie Corporation, that highlights TalkingPoints’ impact and how new evidence continues to point to the effectiveness of engaging families in their children’s education to improve student outcomes. Still, there is immense opportunity for the education and funder communities to further embrace family engagement through increased investments that will help millions of children.
As championed in the op-ed, together, we need to:
- Recognize the crucial role of family engagement and how it complements and amplifies the impact of other education initiatives
- Increase investment in family engagement programs and solutions, which are currently under-funded
- Broaden the understanding of family engagement to encompass a wide range of activities, programs, and tools
- Shift school culture and center families in students’ educational success
As Sharp and Kapur write, “Without family involvement, many recent philanthropic investments, especially those focused on closing pandemic-induced learning gaps, will fail to meet their potential. Tutoring doesn’t work if families don’t recognize their children need it. Introducing a new evidence-based math curriculum won’t achieve the intended results if families don’t know about it and don’t understand how to help their kids at home. And offering summer programs and an extended school year won’t help children who are behind if families don’t sign them up.”
Right now, we have an incredible opportunity to transform the nation’s approach to student success and eliminate ongoing inequities in education by activating students’ families as the key lever of change. Now is the time to scale up innovative family engagement solutions like TalkingPoints to close education gaps and help all children thrive.
TalkingPoints is an award-winning education technology nonprofit that drives student success by unlocking the potential to fuel their children’s learning, especially in under-resourced communities. Our PK-12 universal family engagement technology impacts millions of students each year in tens of thousands of schools and districts across all 50 states. Through the power of AI, we coach and guide teachers and families to build strong partnerships in 150+ languages. Data-driven and grounded in research-based best practices, we are building school districts’ capacity to support students in a scalable, equitable, and low-cost way.