Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 19
To Reach Parents
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16
evolved pretty quickly to involve
the role of communities. How can
we weave into the fabric of communities these opportunites to engage
in these activities?"
Marketing Their Efforts
Borrowing terms used in politics
and in advertising, the initiative has
organized its work around an "air
game"-mass media messaging-
and a "ground game," or person-toperson efforts. The Clinton Foundation oversees more of the marketing
effort, while the Opportunity Institute has focused on some of the partnerships with various groups that
work directly with families.
For the air game, "how do we reach
parents where they are?" Miller said.
One important connection was considered to be through television. So
initiative leaders met with television
writers and producers to ask them if
they would consider embedding messages about talking, reading, and
singing in popular television shows.
That led to scenes such as in
"Orange Is the New Black," when
the character Maria Ruiz tells her
taciturn boyfriend he has to talk to
their baby to help with her development. He surprises Maria by chatting with the baby during a prison
visit. "Mommy's staying right here,
so we can see her, kiss her, and tell
her all about our day," he says.
Similar messages have also been
incorporated into other prime-time
programming, such as "Law &
Order: SVU," "Jane the Virgin," and
Another focus of this work has
been a partnership with Univision,
a public-service campaign called
"Pequeños y Valiosos," or "Young
and Valuable." The campaign features announcements and other
events aimed at a Spanish-speaking audience. Celebrity mothers
have also participated in Englishlanguage PSAs.
The ground game encourages parental interaction through "trusted
messengers" and "high-quality
tools," such as books and other materials that encourage parents to
use every opportunity to interact
with their children, said Dukakis,
with The Opportunity Insitute.
That has meant renovating or
building playgrounds that have
brightly colored prompts for parents to talk to their children about
shapes or colors.
The messaging has extended to
other places not commonly associated with literacy, such as coin
laundries. Too Small to Fail joined
with a pre-existing initiative in Arkansas to offer story time at laundromats, where parents often bring
their families and that have a lot of
Vicki Collet, an assistant education professor at the University of
Arkansas, was the co-founder of
the Laundry & Literacy Project in
northwest Arkansas, which started
in 2011. The foundation enlisted her
help as an adviser for an expanded
project called Wash Time Is Talk
Time, which provided colorful signs
and coloring sheets to interested
"One benefit from our collaboration is that [Too Small to Fail] is
really good at pulling together a lot
of resources," Collet said. For example, the foundation was able to
get a publisher to donate books to
distribute to children.
Enlisting Medical Partners
On Special Ed.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16
Too Small to Fail, a 3-year-old
initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea
Clinton Foundation and the Opportunity
Institute, provides information and tools
to encourage caregivers to talk, sing, and
read to their children. Among its projects:
Another effort has been centered
at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, a children's hospital in
Susan Greenwald, the manager of
for the hospital, said the organizaPequeños y Valiosos
tion was already involved with the
nonprofit Reach Out and Read, but
A campaign that focuses on
that partnership was limited to the
Hispanic families by showing
hospital's primary-care facility.
"That had not had as much of a
announcements on Univision.
hospitalwide impact," Greenwald said. "What we tried
to do with Too Small to
Fail is to see how we
At the UCSF Benioff Children's
could promote the
Hospital Oakland's primary-care
clinic in California, pediatricians
Visitors to the hosdeliver messages about early brain
pital now can see
development at well-baby visits, along
with tote bags full of tools for parents
similar to the ones
to take home. In 2016, the initiative
u se d on t he pl aystarted delivering information on early
grounds and in the coin
math development as well.
parents to talk to children.
The hospital also distributes
books, T-shirts, and other learning materials during well-baby visits.
Greenwald says that public-infor'Kids and Family' Spotify Channel
mation campaigns like that are not
In August 2016, Spotify, the music
new. This effort attempts to take all
and video streaming service, relaunched
the science and boil it down to one
its Kids Category, called Kids and Family,
message: "Talking is teaching."
with help from the initiative, which
"This is more like the 'back to
provided information and research
sleep' campaign, or when we try to
on early-childhood education and
educate people to stop smoking or
expertise on early brain and
about immunization. It's reaching
a broad group of people with a very
simple message," Greenwald said.
'Wash Time Is Talk Time'
Too Small to Fail, unlike other
Five thousand coin laundries
early-childhood advocacy organizanationwide are distributing earlytions, has not gone beyond this
literacy activity/coloring pages
message to press for political
and parent tip sheets. They
changes in policies. But adalso feature posters outlining
visory board member Dana
The initiative has collaborated
Suskind, the founder and
with Hollywood writers and producers
director of the Thirty Milto incorporate literacy and languagelion Words initiative, said
development information into primethat focusing on literacy
time network and cable programming,
and closing the "word gap"
including "Law & Order: SVU," "Jane
between affluent and lowerthe Virgin," "Orange Is the New
income children means investBlack," and "The Fosters."
ing in parents as well.
" Pa rents ca n bu i ld t hei r
children's brain without a doubt,
but they can't do it without the
right supports," said Dr. Suskind, who learned of the imSOURCE: Too Small to Fail
portance of talk though
her work as a cochleari mpla nt su rgeon.
" This is a strong
mandate that we
have to invest in
ward to addressing the issues before
Ronald Wenkart, the general
counsel for the Orange County education department in California,
explored those differing circuitcourt standards in a 2009 article
for West's Education Law Reporter.
Some circuits have at times used
both "meaningful educational benefit" and "some educational benefit,"
his paper says, leaving even the
judges in those circuits questioning
The impact of the high court's decision could rest on how broadly the
justices decide to interpret the question, Wenkart said in an interview.
"They could set a standard and
explain what the standard is," Wenkart said, a move that he believes
would lead to more harmonious
meetings between parents and
school officials. Conflicts over educational progress currently arise all
the time, he said.
"This actually might be better for
the courts to decide. Congress could
add to the law, but that's probably
going to be a huge political fight. I
don't know if Congress could actually agree," Wenkart said.
Having the Conversation
Kathleen Sullivan, the chief counsel for the Colorado Association of
School Boards, agrees that the case
is significant, because there are only
a "handful of Supreme Court cases
interpreting the law." However, Sullivan said she doesn't see the conflict among the circuits that the parents have alleged.
"School districts across the country really talk about providing a
free, appropriate public education
to students with disabilities and do
not talk about there being a higher
or lower standard in certain jurisdictions," she said.
She also noted that Congress has
amended the special education law
several times since Rowley was decided in 1982. "If Congress wanted
to tell the Supreme Court that it was
wrong in Rowley, Congress knows
how to do so, and it hasn't," she said.
Jack D. Robinson, the lawyer representing the parents, said he has
two objectives in the suit: first, to
convince the high court that the
IDEA requires more than trivial
educational progress; and second, "to
articulate a coherent standard to the
Supreme Court for them to adopt and
flesh out and for the nation to apply."
"What are we investing these millions and millions of dollars on? Are
we serving the purpose of the IDEA
by requiring some meaningful benefit in light of the child's potential?"
Robinson asked. "It's important, regardless of the outcome, to have this
Visit the ON SPECIAL EDUCATION blog, which
tracks news and trends on this issue.
EDUCATION WEEK | October 12, 2016 | www.edweek.org | 19
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 12, 2016
Bilingual Education Poised for a Comeback in California Schools
Cultural Literacy Creator Carries On Campaign
New Teachers Turn to Web for Mentoring
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Modern E-Rate Puts Telephones On Hold in K-12
Sides Seek to Avert Chicago Teachers’ Strike
Labor Dispute Simmering In Buffalo, N.Y.
Shooting Reignites Safety Concerns
Kan. Governor: Tax Hike Needed If State Loses Funding Case
Court to Weigh Level of Benefits for Special Ed. Students
Literacy Program Reflects Clinton Policy Agenda
Snapshot: School Finance A Judge Gets Tough
News in Brief
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
PAUL REVILLE: A Call to Action For K-12 Leaders
LYN MIKEL BROWN: A Field Guide to Girl Empowerment
JOHN URSCHEL: The Winning Equation In Math Education
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Modern E-Rate Puts Telephones On Hold in K-12
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 2
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 3
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - News in Brief
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Report Roundup
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Labor Dispute Simmering In Buffalo, N.Y.
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Shooting Reignites Safety Concerns
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Kan. Governor: Tax Hike Needed If State Loses Funding Case
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 9
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 10
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 11
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 12
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 13
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 14
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 15
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Literacy Program Reflects Clinton Policy Agenda
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 17
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Snapshot: School Finance A Judge Gets Tough
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 19
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 20
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 21
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - LYN MIKEL BROWN: A Field Guide to Girl Empowerment
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - JOHN URSCHEL: The Winning Equation In Math Education
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Letters
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 25
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 27
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 28
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 29
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 30
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 31
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 32