Office of the Vice President
NASHVILLE- In the 6th Annual Family Re-Union Conference today (6/25), the Vice President brought together more than 1,000 parents, educators and corporate and community leaders from around the nation to focus on the critical issue of involving families in their children's education. At the conference, the Vice President announced four efforts that aim to strengthen bonds among parents, teachers and students to revitalize learning in schools across the nation.
Continuing their efforts to make education the nation's top priority, President Clinton joined the Vice President at the conference, which was co-moderated by Tipper Gore, at Vanderbilt University.
All of us must make it our journey-our nation's journey-to re-connect America's classrooms to America's living rooms, said the Vice President. There's so much we can do to revitalize our schools, invigorate our students, and integrate parents into their children's learning.
Research, experience and common sense tell us that children's academic achievement soars, when their families are actively engaged in and supportive of their education.
The Vice President's announcements included:
A new multi-million dollar private sector fund to support public school reform. The fund, spearheaded by one of America's leading venture capitalists John Doerr, along with several high-tech companies, will support the start-up, speed-up and turn-around of public schools across the nation.
A cutting edge information tool, called the Dashboard, which will connect parents and teachers through the Internet. For example, parents will be able to track a child's math scores or learn more about their child's homework assignments. This tool was developed when several companies responded to a challenge from Vice President to find a creative way to help parents be more involved in their children's learning.
The companies developing this new tool are Marimba, Netscape, Cybernautics, Yahoo!, Spectrum Holobyte, Inc., and NetSchools, in collaboration with a number of schools in the San Francisco area.
A new collaboration between the Department of Education's Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, which includes many national organizations representing families and educators, and four leading graduate schools of education (Vanderbilt University's Peabody School, the University of Minnesota, Bank Street College, and Columbia Teachers College). This initiative will seek better ways to train teachers about family involvement, beginning with a national teleconference this fall led by the Vice President.
The release of a film called Learn and Live, produced by the George Lucas Foundation. The film highlights schools that have succeeded in involving parents and that have used new technologies and other strategies to help prepare students for the 21st Century. The film is accompanied by a guidebook to help other schools learn from the experiences of successful school improvement efforts from around the nation. The foundation will make available 100,000 copies of the video and guide book to communities around the country.
With these steps, we can break down more barriers between parents, teachers and students, said the Vice President. By working together, we can make the journeys our parents and teachers make a little less daunting and make it easier for students to succeed.
In addition to the announcement of the four efforts, the Vice President released a survey asking parents about their involvement about their children's education. The survey shows that an overwhelming majority, nearly 80 percent, of parents believe that they and teachers should learn more about how they can be effectively involved in their child's education. The survey was sponsored by the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, the GTE Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.
The conference was broadcast live via satellite at hundreds of downlink sites nationwide. Four schools, interactive with the conference via satellite, were Clear View Charter School of Chula Vista, Calif.; Christopher Columbus School of New Union, N.J.; Jumpstart of Boston, Mass,; and Anderson School/Family Resources Center of Minneapolis, Minn.
The conference was sponsored by The Child and Family Policy Center at Vanderbilt University and the Children, Youth and Family Consortium at the University of Minnesota.
The Vice President and Mrs. Gore have moderated six conferences in Nashville focused on family issues. Past conferences have led to the V-Chip and increased quality children's programming, a national fatherhood program called Father to Father, the Presidential memorandum implementing a family-friendly federal workplace, and broader understanding of the importance of family centered policy.