Action Alert – STOP Cuts to Classrooms

Dear PTA Leaders,

At National PTA’s Annual Convention and Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., Executive Director Nathan Monell outlined the funding hardships that our public schools and children are facing and mentioned a new campaign – STOP Cuts to Classrooms – we are launching this summer. We are excited to let you know that tomorrowJuly 7, National PTA is debuting a nationwide campaign—from July 7 to September 29—to raise public awareness that federal funding for education—accounting for only 2% of the federal budget—is an inadequate investment for our children.

We need every state PTA, local unit and PTA member to help to make this initiative a success and STOP Cuts to Classrooms!

Here are ways that you can help with this effort:

  1. Share this campaign through your social media networks and PTA communication channels starting now! (a sample newsletter blurb is available below)
  2. Participate in tomorrow’s Funding Fridays on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to raise awareness that 2% of federal funding for public education is inadequate (See this Social Media Toolkit with sample tweets).
  3. Sign the petition to #STOPCutsToClassrooms to make your voice heard and receive regular updates on the campaign, additional ways to take action and next steps in the funding process.
  4. Visit National PTA’s #STOPCutsToClassrooms webpage to learn more about federal funding for public education

Sample Social Media Posts

Twitter

  • Join @NationalPTA in a nationwide campaign to #STOPCutsToClassrooms http://www.pta.org/stopcuts
  • Starting July 7 join edu advocates for Funding Fridays #STOPCutsToClassrooms – http://bit.ly/2uOUHaE
  • Our children & public educ system deserves adequate funding. Join w/ @NationalPTA to #STOPCutsToClassrooms –http://bit.ly/2uONWFN
  • It’s time 2 advocate 4 adequate federal funding for public education. Take part in #STOPCutsToClassroomscampaign –http://bit.ly/2uONWFN
  • Join @NationalPTA every Friday and help spread the word to Congress to #STOPCutsToClassroomshttp://bit.ly/2uOUHaE

Facebook

National PTA is running a nationwide campaign—from July 7 to September 29—to raise public awareness that federal education funding—accounting for only 2% of the federal budget—is an inadequate investment for our children. We will need every PTA member and their education advocacy network to help in order to make this nationwide campaign a success to #STOPCutsToClassrooms and ensure funding for public education is more than 2% of the federal budget in this next fiscal year! To participate and learn more about federal funding for education go to www.PTA.org/STOPCuts.

Social Media Graphics


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: Human Trafficking Posters

** PLACED ON CALENDAR FOR FULL SENATE VOTE** Please contact your Senators now!

SB 68 would require the Department of Public Safety to create a poster by January 1, 2018, that provides information regarding the national human trafficking resource center hotline.

National PTA had adopted Position Statement on Child Trafficking in 2009, which does support this bill.

Missouri PTA encourages you to send emails to your Senators but also to directly call their office and let them know your feelings on this bill.

Dear Senators,

Human Trafficking has become an epidemic across the United States. I encourage you to vote yes to SB 68 that would require the Department of Public Safety to create posters providing information regarding the national human trafficking resource center hotline. These posters could safe countless victims from this practice.

UNICEF estimates that globally, 1.2 million children are trafficked each year within countries, as well as across borders including the United States. At least 200,000 or more children may be victims of domestic trafficking within the United States, leaving no state is immune from trafficking. The majority of child trafficking cases go unreported due to the highly clandestine nature of the crime; policies and practices encouraging civil participation and cooperation in the prosecution of traffickers must be developed and enforced. Missouri PTA is committed to protecting our children and families from this practice. Help protect our most vulnerable citizens by voting g YES to SB 68.

Sincerely,

(Your name and PTA)

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.


Carla Wiese

Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy

carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

** PLACED ON CALENDAR FOR FULL HOUSEVOTE** Please contact your Representatives now!

SB 313 has been placed on the House calendar.

SB 313 would establish the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program

The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is a particular concern for PTA because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to may make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit, as described in the act. The tax credit is for one hundred percent of the amount of the contribution. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned. The scholarships will be used in private schools effectively creating a voucher system in Missouri.

Missouri PTA encourages you to send emails to your Representatives but also to directly call their office and let them know your feelings on this bill.  We know the governor will sign this if it gets to his desk. Please share this with all of your friends; we need lots of help to defeat this bill. This is our LAST CHANCE to stop vouchers in Missouri!

Dear Representative,

The Empowerment Scholarship Account is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:

Irresponsible expansion of tax credits when the state is facing massive shortfalls in the current budget.  The Governor indicated in his State of the State address that he is opposed to the expansion of tax credits, particularly given the shortfalls in the budget.  Every tax dollar the state loses through a tax credit reduces the treasury further.  This bill would allow for $25 million less per year, when approximately $9 million was withheld from K-12 a mere two weeks ago.

This is a voucher in a bad disguise.  This bill attempts to funnel public funds to private schools and home schools.  It also allows these funds to be spent on for-profit schools, including virtual schools, with no oversight.  This bill is not about seeking quality education for students. This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all. 

Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds. There is no accountability required of the schools receiving these funds.  These entities are not required to be located in Missouri or governed by Missouri residents.  These entities can be for-profit institutions created solely to earn money off of the backs of Missouri students.  They could be fly-by-night organizations that deliver no actual education, but profit at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.

Lack of educational oversight of the schools receiving the funds. These schools are not required to administer the MAP, identify or educate students with disabilities, or be accredited by any organization.   Missouri tax dollars will be spent for students to be taught by teachers without certification or the specialized knowledge to identify learning disabilities, dyslexia, etc.   The teachers and education providers receiving the funds are not even required to undergo a criminal background check.  Missouri tax dollars could be spent on services and therapies that are not educationally sound.  The bill states that a school “shall not be required to alter its creed, practices, admissions policy, or curriculum in order to accept students” under a scholarship, which means students with disabilities could be denied enrollment and students with disabilities can be refused specialized education.  Schools could deny enrollment based on economic status or grades.

Expands education beyond the age of 21.  Unlike free public education, which expires once the student turns 21 or graduates high school, parents and students may continue to receive these scholarships indefinitely as long as the student does not complete high school or passes a test for admission to college. 166.705.2

Please oppose SB 313 by voting no.

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.


Carla Wiese

Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy

carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

****FULL SENATE VOTE *** Please CALL your Senators now!

SB 32 would establish the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program

The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is a particular concern for PTA because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to may make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit, as described in the act. The tax credit is for one hundred percent of the amount of the contribution. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned. The scholarships will be used in private schools effectively creating a voucher system in Missouri.

Missouri PTA encourages you to CALL your Senators office now and let them know your feelings on this bill.

When you call here are some talking points to discuss with their office:

Begin the call by thanking them for their time; give them your name and PTA Unit.

The Empowerment Scholarship Account is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:

  • Irresponsible expansion of tax credits when the state is facing massive shortfalls in the current budget.
  • This is a voucher in a bad disguise. This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all.
  • Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds these organizations could be for- profit institutions designed to take money directly from school students that could deliver no education but profit at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.
  • Expands education beyond the age of 21as long as the student has not completed high school.

 This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all.  Please vote NO on SB 32.

 Take a few moments to call now!  Public education in Missouri depends on it!!

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.

 

Thank you,

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy

Missouri PTA


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: HB 29 Powdered Alcohol

HB 29 HOUSE VOTE COMING SOON, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE NOW!

HB 29 would add powdered alcohol to the definition of intoxicating liquor used in state liquor control laws. The bill requires anyone shipping or delivering powered alcohol to a resident of this state for personal use to have an alcohol carrier license.

Powdered Alcohol is a particular concern for PTA because underage drinking creates and environment that can be extremely dangerous to children.  Because of the potential for abuse, powdered alcohol has been banned in more than 27 states.

Dear Representative,

As a community we prioritize safety with regard to our kids. We have laws that require young children be restrained in car seats.  Medicines must be sold in childproof containers.  We encourage classes on fire safety.  And our schools and communities work hard to raise awareness of the dangers of underage drinking.  Powdered Alcohol has a high potential for abuse creating a dangerous environment for children. 

Powdered Alcohol is not “freeze-dried alcohol” but rather ethyl alcohol encapsulated by a sugar container.  It can be easily concealed, sprinkled onto food products, taken as a pill, snorted, injected and mixed with other alcohol and drugs such as cocaine and marijuana making it even more potent and inhibiting the user’s ability to fight off alcohol poisoning. 

Help keep our children safe from such harmful products.  Please support HB 29 by voting yes.

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.


Carla Wiese

Vice President & Director of Legislation

carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT SB 313: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

** PLACED ON CALENDAR FOR FULL SENATE VOTE** Please contact your Senators now!

SB 313 has been placed on the Senate calendar.

SB 313 would establish the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program

The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is a particular concern for PTA because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to may make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit, as described in the act. The tax credit is for one hundred percent of the amount of the contribution. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned. The scholarships will be used in private schools effectively creating a voucher system in Missouri.

Missouri PTA encourages you to send emails to your Senators but also to directly call their office and let them know your feelings on this bill.

Dear Senators,

The Empowerment Scholarship Account is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:

Irresponsible expansion of tax credits when the state is facing massive shortfalls in the current budget.  The Governor indicated in his State of the State address that he is opposed to the expansion of tax credits, particularly given the shortfalls in the budget.  Every tax dollar the state loses through a tax credit reduces the treasury further.  This bill would allow for $25 million less per year, when approximately $9 million was withheld from K-12 a mere two weeks ago.

This is a voucher in a bad disguise.  This bill attempts to funnel public funds to private schools and home schools.  It also allows these funds to be spent on for-profit schools, including virtual schools, with no oversight.  This bill is not about seeking quality education for students. This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all. 

Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds. There is no accountability required of the schools receiving these funds.  These entities are not required to be located in Missouri or governed by Missouri residents.  These entities can be for-profit institutions created solely to earn money off of the backs of Missouri students.  They could be fly-by-night organizations that deliver no actual education, but profit at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.

Lack of educational oversight of the schools receiving the funds. These schools are not required to administer the MAP, identify or educate students with disabilities, or be accredited by any organization.   Missouri tax dollars will be spent for students to be taught by teachers without certification or the specialized knowledge to identify learning disabilities, dyslexia, etc.   The teachers and education providers receiving the funds are not even required to undergo a criminal background check.  Missouri tax dollars could be spent on services and therapies that are not educationally sound.  The bill states that a school “shall not be required to alter its creed, practices, admissions policy, or curriculum in order to accept students” under a scholarship, which means students with disabilities could be denied enrollment and students with disabilities can be refused specialized education.  Schools could deny enrollment based on economic status or grades.

Expands education beyond the age of 21.  Unlike free public education, which expires once the student turns 21 or graduates high school, parents and students may continue to receive these scholarships indefinitely as long as the student does not complete high school or passes a test for admission to college. 166.705.2

Please oppose SB 313 by voting no.

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.


Carla Wiese

Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy

carlaw@mopta.org


Tell ED Stakeholder Engagement is CRITICAL, Not Optional!

Parents and Advocates,

When your child takes a math test, they’re expected to show their work to get credit. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are also required to engage stakeholders, like you, in developing their state plans. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) just released a new guide that doesn’t compel states to show their work on their process of engaging educators and parents.

If students are expected to show their work on assignments, shouldn’t states be held to the same standard when making decisions about our children’s education?

Send a comment to the U.S. Department of Education today and tell them: Stakeholder Engagement is CRITICAL, not optional!

We’re counting on you to hold states accountable and ensure parents, teachers and other stakeholders who are standing up for our children are being heard! The U.S. Department of Education needs to hear from you—and PTA members across the country—TODAY.

Submit your comment today and demand that a description of stakeholder engagement be included in the state education plans.

Thank you for your support,
National PTA Advocacy Team

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