Family engagement is about more than caring.

New research shows that many people feel that family engagement is dependent on how much the adults in a child’s life – especially parents and teachers – “care,” and that lower-income families do not engage because they do not value education.

This is a big problem for advocates who are trying to gain support for well-structured family engagement programs and strategic policies that have the potential to advance equity in our education system, and ultimately close the achievement gap.

Two-minute Toolkit Tutorial:

Watch this short video and learn how changing the way we talk about family engagement can change the way everyone thinks about it.

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Research shows what stands in our way – and how to fix it.

What stands between current public thinking and widespread adoption of family engagement as a core educational strategy is better communication. In partnership with the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE), FrameWorks Institute, a nonprofit think tank that maps the public consciousness surrounding social issues of all kinds, conducted groundbreaking research on how the public thinks about family engagement and what can help expand that understanding. Now we’ve created easy-to-use resources and tools to help you apply these recommendations to your own communications.

Learn how to reframe your communications with our online tools

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The downloadable booklet pictured to the left captures some of the most important takeaways from the research.

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The Research Findings

After three years of research, 72 focused interviews, and more than 6,000 participants, the research conducted by FrameWorks Institute provides clear recommendations on how to talk about family engagement so that people will understand it, value it, and support it.

To learn about the significant differences between how experts explain family engagement and how the public, practitioners, and policymakers feel about it, read our Map the Gaps report.

Download the Map the Gaps Report

The Framing Brief, From Caring to Conditions: Strategies for Effectively Communicating About Family, School, and Community Engagement, provides detailed recommendations on how to use the research to more effectively communicate about family engagement.

Download the Framing Brief

Our field is coming together to change the way we communicate.

To succeed in affecting a wholesale change in public understanding around family engagement, we must create a comprehensive, grassroots movement that is embraced by every organization and person in the field of family engagement. To lead that effort, a coalition of organizations, listed to the right, have come together to form the National Alliance for Family Engagement. These organizations have already dedicated significant time and resources to the advancement of this campaign.

Learn more about the Alliance

National Alliance Members

  • Afterschool Alliance
  • Brazelton Touchpoints Center
  • Campaign for Grade Level Reading (CGLR)
  • COFI – Community Organizing & Family Issues
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
  • Global Family Research Project (GFRP)
  • HIPPY USA – Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters
  • Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)
  • Joan Ganz Cooney Center
  • Learning Heroes
  • MAEC – Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium
  • National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE)
  • National Center for Families Learning (NCFL)
  • National Family Support Network
  • National Parent Leadership Institute (NPLI)
  • National PTA Center for Family Engagement
  • Parent Teacher Home Visit Project (PTHV)
  • Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP)
  • United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN)
  • Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE)