Abstract: In this article, Arnold Fege identifies parental and public engagement as critical to sustaining equity in public education. He traces the history of this engagement from the integration of schools after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and the implementation in 1965 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act through the provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). He finds that while NCLB gives parents access to data, it does not foster use of that information to mobilize the public to get involved in school improvement. Fege concludes with historical lessons applicable to the reauthorization of NCLB, emphasizing enforcement of provisions for both parental and community-based involvement in decisionmaking, resource allocation, and assurance of quality and equity.
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Arnold F. Fege
is director of public engagement and advocacy for the Public Education Network. He was formerly a staff person for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a public school teacher and administrator in Title I schools, director of curriculum in a Title I school district, and director of governmental relations with the National Parent Teacher Association. He was also a writer on several large city newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times
, the Cleveland Plain Dealer
, and the Philadelphia Inquirer
, writing stories on
equity and urban education. He is coauthor of Using NCLB to Improve Student Achievement: An Action Guide for Community and Parent Leaders
(with A. J. Smith, 2002).