MALDEF

Parents’ Rights and Responsibilities

Education is essential to the development of every child and for the progress of every community. In the United States, every child is entitled to a free high-quality K-12 public education regardless of race, nationality, native language, gender, or immigration status and is free to enjoy without the fear of unlawful discrimination or fear of deportation.

Parents of students enrolled in the K-12 public education system must take the initiative in ensuring a quality education for their children. Well-informed, active parents naturally collaborate with educators and administrators to better prepare their children for success. When many parents become involved, this collaboration benefits all; the students, the school and the community!

To be effective student advocates, parents must understand their rights and assume a responsibility in their children’s educational progress. To learn about the specific federal and state education rights available to all students and their families, please click here.

When Exercising Your Rights

As you become aware of your rights and take the initiative to exercise them, remember that are many factors that might contribute to whether or not you have a positive or negative experience. It is always recommended that before exercising your rights as a parent, you should:

  • Have a clear understanding of what that right grants you
  • Be clear in communicating what information you are requesting from school officials
  • Be assertive when communicating. To learn more about positive assertive behavior, click here.
  • Use a direct, non-aggressive tone of voice
  • Be persistent and try again if the initial contact was unsuccessful
  • Consider writing a formal letter (English, Spanish)to voice your concerns.

It is essential that parents become informed of their rights and responsibilities to be effective school partners and education advocates. Although not all interactions between parents, teachers, and school officials will go as each party wants, all need to strive to collaborate with one another to improve educational outcomes for children.

Related Information

Related Information


The Parent School Partnership would like to thank the following sponsors:

Bank of America,   JP Morgan (formerly WaMu),   Marguerite Casey Foundation,   BP,
United Way of Greater LA,   Sempra Energy,   Comcast,   Sodexo,   Polk Bros Foundation,
Toyota,   Kroger, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund