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 the following Position Statement on Child Trafficking in 2009:

Whereas, Children are potential victims of both commercial and sexual abuse by traffickers due to lack of education, gender disparity, inequality, violence, corruption, poverty, lack of employment opportunities,  demand for cheap labor and services and an expanding globalized sex industry; and

Whereas, UNICEF estimates that globally, 1.2 million children are trafficked each year within countries, as well as across borders including the United States; and

Whereas, At least 200,000 or more children may be victims of domestic trafficking within the United States, leaving no state is immune from trafficking; and

Whereas, 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; and

Whereas, It is also important that police, prosecutors and courts punish traffickers within a system that is quick and respects and safeguards the rights of the victims to privacy, dignity, and safety; and

Whereas, The Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act and existing state anti-trafficking statutes need improvement to fully protect and support the child victims of trafficking and approximately 25% of states have no anti-trafficking laws at all; and therefore be it

Resolved, That National PTA and its constituent organizations support the adoption and enforcement of laws that will deter the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation; and be it further

Resolved, That National PTA and its constituent organizations advocate for the protection of rights of victims and support efforts to provide measures for the physical, psychological, and social recovery of victims of child trafficking; and be it further

Resolved, That National PTA and its constituent organizations encourage and call for members, policy makers in government, inter-governmental bodies and non-governmental, school and community organizations to raise awareness and to address those conditions and situations that contribute to child trafficking.

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 SB68.

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 CALNEDAR FOR FULL SENATE VOTE** Please contact your Senators now!

SB 32 has been placed on the Senate calendar.

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 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 32 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: Family Engagement Center Funding

Family Engagement Centers – The newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program, which provides competitive federal grants to statewide organizations to promote and implement evidenced-based family engagement strategies. If the SFEC program is funded, applications for these competitive grants can be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by statewide organizations such as non-profits or by groups of statewide organizations that have demonstrated involvement in engaging families in their child’s education and experience working with state-level agencies, communities, organizations and schools on family engagement policies and practices. Contact your Senators and Representative today and ask them to support Statewide Family Engagement Centers the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) appropriations bill. Please take a few moments to send a letter to your members of Congress. You can quickly send your letter by clicking here.

 

Thank you,

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: Charter Schools

****VOTE SOON*** Please contact your Representative NOW!!

HB 634 is in committee and will come for a committee vote soon.

HB 634 would allow charter schools to operate in any school district in the state.

National and Missouri PTA does recognize and support charter schools when they are public and have to meet all the same evaluation standards that a non- charter public schools must meet. However, Missouri PTA opposes this bill based on the fact that it is allowing the charter schools to be affiliated with non-public organizations and that currently the evaluation for charter schools still does not meet or exceed the expectations of non-charter public schools.

Dear Representative,

As a community we prioritize the education standards of our kids. We have evaluation standards that must be met for public schools to remain accredited.  HB 634 allows for the formation of charter schools in any district in the state. Under this bill these schools could be controlled by non-public organizations. These schools would not have to be held to the same evaluation standards non-charter public schools are held. This would allow for the potential for children to not have the quality of education they receive in Missouri public schools. Missouri PTA is not against charter schools when they are under the control nonprofit organizations not affiliated with non-public sectarian, religious, or home-based school organizations of the local school district with the same standards as public schools. HB 634 fails to meet this requirement.

Please vote no on HB 634.

 

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: HB274 – Children in Adult Prisons

HB 274 has been placed on the calendar for the House Judiciary Committee public hearings.

Currently Missouri law incarnates children who have been charged as adults in adult prisons.  While they have been charged with serious offences, these children have not yet been convicted of a crime.  HB 274 would require children to be prosecuted in juvenile courts unless the child is certified as an adult or is being prosecuted for a traffic or curfew violation. Additionally, the bill specifies that no person under the age of 18 may be detained in an adult jail unless the person has been certified as an adult. Please contact the House Judicial Committee and urge them to SUPPORT HB 274.

Dear Representative,

Children who commit serious crimes should be held accountable for their actions.  However, incarcerating children charged, but not convicted, in adult facilities is a sentence in itself.  Children are not the same as adults and until they are found guilty should be afforded extra protections.  When children are incarcerated in adult prisons they face a dramatically increased danger of sexual assault and have higher risks of suicide.  These facilities do not afford children the opportunities of education and rehabilitation services available in the juvenile detention system.  Instead of working to rehabilitate these children when their mental development is at its’ capacity to learn we are teaching them to be hardened criminals.

 

The Missouri Model has long been the national model with regard to state juvenile justice systems. This allowance to house charged but not convicted children with adults is a flaw we need to recognize and correct.  Please vote yes on HB 274 to keep kids 17 and younger out of adult prisons.

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

 

Not sure how to contact the House Judiciary Committee? Click here

 

Carla Wiese

VP Legislation and Advocacy

Missouri PTA

carlaw@mopta.org