December 2000


ALBANY, NY 12234


  1. What is parenting education?

The definition used by the Department is: "Parenting education provides youth with the knowledge and skills needed to be responsible parents and caring citizens."

  1. Is instruction in parenting education required for all students?

Yes. Section 100.5(a)(3)(vi) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires all students entering ninth grade in fall 2001 and thereafter to achieve parenting education standards prior to graduation.

  1. Who may teach parenting education?

Education Law 804(b) (1993) authorizes schools to include, as an integral part of family and consumer sciences or health education, instruction regarding child development and parental skills and responsibilities. Such instruction must be taught only by teachers certified to teach family and consumer sciences or health education.

  1. Can parenting education be taught in middle schools?

Parenting education must occur at the high school level to ensure age-appropriate instruction. School districts have the flexibility to organize and integrate parenting education according to available resources and to meet the needs of their students and communities. They may choose to initiate aspects of parenting education at earlier levels consistent with a district's curriculum goals or for student populations with particular needs. Age appropriateness and cultural sensitivity should be considered in introducing parenting education at any age.

  1. How many weeks of instruction are required?

Commissioner’s Regulations do not prescribe a unit of study or a unit of credit requirement for parenting education. The State Education Department is preparing a Parenting Education Resource Guide that contains a recommended scope of instruction and a process for developing and implementing parenting education programs. Schools must allocate sufficient time for instruction to ensure students achieve standards in parenting education. Course offerings and scheduling options will vary according to the needs of the student population and the district’s curriculum requirements for graduation.

  1. Can parenting education be taught as a separate course?

Yes. Commissioner’s Regulations provide flexibility to school districts to integrate instruction into the health education or family and consumer sciences curriculum or to offer a separate course. School districts often develop separate courses to meet the unique needs of their student population. A separate course is understood to be a program of instruction designed to achieve parenting education standards. If parenting education is taught as a separate course, it must be taught by a health education or family and consumer sciences certified teacher.

  1. What information is currently available about parenting education?

Presently, school districts have the New York State learning standards and the Health, Physical Education and Family and Consumer Sciences Resource Guide and the Family and Consumer Sciences Parenting Syllabus formerly known as "Home Economics Education - Parenting - HF -2 – 88." During winter 2000, school districts will receive a draft scope of instruction and a sequential plan for parenting education.

The State Education Department is gathering information, suggestions and recommendations from educators, administrators and the greater school community concerning implementation of parenting education in schools. As additional information becomes available from the State Education Department, it will be posted on our web site at To access the National Family and Consumer Sciences Parenting Standards, you may call 1-800-248-7701, extension 543.

Districts that are working on the new requirement for parenting education now may also contact the following for information:

  • New York State Parenting Education Project Office at 716-630-4233.
  • Comprehensive Health and Pupil Services Team, State Education Department, at 518-486-6090.
  • Career and Technical Education Team, State Education Department, at 518-474-5506.
  • State Education Department Regional Coordinated School Health Networks.
  1. How can school staff, administrators, parents, families, students, and community members become involved in parenting education?

At the State level, the State Education Department has involved educators, administrators, parents, families, students and community members in focus groups and other activities to develop guidance that will assist schools in implementing the parenting education requirement.

At the district level, several school districts are conducting a paper inquiry and/or student focus groups. Selected districts have been given the opportunity to pilot the scope of instruction for parenting education and/or develop learning experiences to be incorporated into the Parenting Education Resource Guide. For information about ongoing State initiatives, call the New York State Parenting Education Project Office at 716-630-4233.

  1. Will the State Education Department develop a curriculum guide for parenting education?

No. The State Education Department will provide a resource guide and related training and support to assist school districts in developing local curriculum. The resource guide will be completed and disseminated to school districts in fall 2001.

  1. What funding can be used to provide parenting education?

There are no State dollars specifically targeted for parenting education. School districts must use existing resources or State Aid dollars targeted for implementing learning standards to implement the parenting education requirement.

  1. How will parenting education be assessed?

There is no State assessment in parenting education. However, the State Education Department will include guidance for local assessment in the Parenting Education Resource Guide and is actively working with local practitioners to do so. The Department welcomes suggestions and recommendations from school districts on successful local assessment practices. School districts are ultimately responsible for ensuring that students achieve standards in parenting education.