Help Parents Help Our Students: Making Education Our Priority

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) recently held a breakfast conversation panel, “Striving for African American Excellence in Public Education: The Role of the Black Press.”  The ESSA panel discussed ways for parents to get involved, the importance of equality versus equity—all to help raise public awareness for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) through print, digital, programs and technology, within the community.

A call to action urged Black publishers to include or enhance their education section of the newspaper, to better assist the community, more specifically parents, to become more informed and engaged. “An informed parent is an engaged parent,” said Denise Rolark-Barnes. “It is our responsibility as publishers to get our education stories on the front page, and to inform our community.”

Parent engagement and education increases the student’s success and likelihood of seeking higher education and better career opportunities. NNPA provide ways parents of color can get involved at school which include:

  1. Be Aware. Read a review of your state plan at
  2. Be Knowledgeable. Identify opportunities or challenges that parents feel are an asset or obstacle for students of color.
  3. Take Action. Contact your local school leaders or attend public meetings where your voice can be heard.

The #NNPAESSA panel was hosted by Dr. Elizabeth Primas, NNPA ESSA manager, and featured panelists: Robert L. Kirton, Denise Rolark-Barnes, Hilary O. Shelton, Curtis Valentine, and Dr. Lannette Woodruff. For more information visit