National PTA Disappointed in Senate FY2017 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill

National PTA Disappointed in Senate FY2017 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill


ALEXANDRIA, Va., (June 9, 2016)—Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill that would fund labor, health and human services and education programs for Fiscal Year 2017. The bill now moves to the Senate floor.


“National PTA is extremely disappointed that the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program is not funded in the bill,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “For years, PTA members and families nationwide have been advocating for the prioritization of family engagement in education, as it is proven to advance children’s learning and growth, increase student achievement and positively impact school improvement efforts.”


The Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program is included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new law governing the federal role in K-12 education. The SFEC program will provide states and districts with the capacity to support implementation and enhancement of meaningful family engagement policies and initiatives. It will also deliver much-needed professional development for educators and school leaders to strengthen family-school partnerships and parent-teacher relationships. Additionally, SFECs will provide direct services to families to arm them with tools to effectively work with their child’s school to improve their child’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.


Congress recognized the vital role family engagement plays in education and student success by including the SFECs program in ESSA. However, the program is one of only a handful of programs in ESSA that is not funded in the Senate appropriations bill.


“On both sides of the aisle, members of Congress talk about the importance of family engagement, but an actual investment in SFECs is critical to ensure that families are meaningfully engaged in all aspects of a child’s educational continuum,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “If policymakers are truly serious about the essential role of parents and families in a child’s education and long-term success then where is the dedicated funding toward that end?”


About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.

Media Contact

Heidi May Wilson, National PTA

[email protected], (703) 518-1242


Coalition Urges Congress to Support Family-Engagement Centers

PTA Leaders,

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bipartisan Labor, Health and Human Services and Education funding bill by a vote of 29 to 1.  Unfortunately, the bill did not include funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs), however Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) spoke during the markup about the importance of family engagement and the need to fund the program.


While we are disappointed that SFEC funding was not included in this bill, there are still opportunities to influence the appropriations process moving forward.  Because of your tremendous advocacy, family engagement and SFECs are receiving lots of attention in the media!  See the piece below published by K-12 Parents and the Public blog on SFECS.


National PTA will also be issuing a statement later today on the bill.


Thank you all for your efforts including all the social media you have pushed out over of the last few days!  You have generated a lot of interested and attention on family engagement and SFECs.  I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make sure Congress invests in family engagement!


Please let me know if you have any questions.


Thank you,


Coalition Urges Congress to Support Family-Engagement Centers

By Sarah Tully on June 9, 2016 9:35 AM | No comments


A group of 83 state and national organizations is urging Congress to financially support family centers that were approved as part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.


The coalition sent a June 6 letter to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, asking that at least $10 million be given to fund Statewide Family Engagement Centers. The Senate Committee on Appropriations is next set to consider the bill on Thursday, June 9.


The bill currently does not include any funding for the centers. President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget proposal also did not include any money for the centers.

The coalition includes national groups, such as United Way International and the National Council of La Raza, as well as state Parent Teacher Associations.


“Our organizations believe that an investment in [the centers] is critical to ensuring that families are meaningfully supported and engaged in their child’s education so they can support our nation’s students in becoming fully prepared for higher education and careers,” the letter states.


Within ESSA, Congress authorized the $10 million amount annually for the centers, which would provide grants to states to support family engagement policies and programs.

The previous federal law, the No Child Left Behind Act, at first gave up to $40 million for such centers, which were then called Parent Information and Resource Centers. But after the money ran out, only three states continued with their centers with other funding sources.


See the Education Week story about community and parent engagement in ESSA, including the Statewide Family Engagement Centers.


In addition to the coalition, some members of Congress also have urged their colleagues to support the centers. See a March letter from 22 senators and a letter from 38 representatives.


Follow ESSA funding issues, including this blog post about a subcommittee’s June 7 meeting, in thePolitics K-12 blog.


Sarah Tully at [email protected].

Follow @ParentAndPublic for the latest news on schools and parental involvement.



Jacki Ball | Director, Government Affairs

National PTA®

1250 N. Pitt Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

P: (703) 518-1243 | C: (703) 405-5206

[email protected] @balljacki



K-12 Parents and the Public