National PTA Adopts Resolution on the Recognition of LGBTQ Individuals as a Protected Class

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 5, 2016)—National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association, adopted a resolution during its 2016 Annual Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla. on the Recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Individuals as a Protected Class. The resolution calls for federal policies that specifically protect LGBTQ youth and local practices that create and maintain safe, affirming and inclusive learning environments for all students.

 

“Every child deserves to go to school excited to learn in a safe and nurturing environment, without the fear of bullying, violence or discrimination. However, the vast majority of LGBTQ students are bullied, physically assaulted and feel unsafe in school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA delegates have taken a stand to push for policies and protections for LGBTQ youth to make sure they have positive school experiences.”

 

As outlined in the resolution, National PTA and its constituent associations will advocate for legislation that explicitly recognizes LGBTQ as a protected group and addresses discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The association will also seek to ensure educators have the training to support all students and that health education standards appropriately address the issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

 

To this end, National PTA encourages state, councils and local units nationwide to review district and school policies that address bullying and support revisions and amendments to these policies that specifically discuss sexual orientation and gender identification/expression as they relate to harassment and discrimination.

 

“It has long been a top priority of National PTA to make sure all children have a safe, supportive and positive environment in which to thrive and learn. There is an urgent need for explicit protection of LGBTQ youth,” said Shannon Sevier, vice president of advocacy for National PTA. “The adoption of the resolution builds on the association’s long-standing position against bullying and is an important step to further direct and inform advocacy efforts of National PTA and PTAs across the country. The association remains committed to working with policymakers and education leaders at the federal, state and local levels to strengthen protections for all children and improve education.”

 

National PTA delegates also adopted resolutions on Electronic Cigarettes and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Youth, Homework: Quality Over Quantity and Water Safety and Instruction during the 2016 Annual Convention & Expo.

 

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

hmay@pta.org, (703) 518-1242


JC/DC Action Alert: Veto SB590

JC/DC ACTION ALERT:  Veto SB590

Governor Nixon should veto SB 590 , a bill the Missouri legislature recently passed to address sentences for children under 18 convicted of homicide crimes.  Because of recent United States Supreme Court cases, existing Missouri law was unconstitutional and the Missouri Supreme Court created a temporary solution until the Missouri legislature acted.  Advocates, including the Missouri PTA, had been working closely with legislators to support HB 1995, a bill that would have given all children a chance at review by the parole board.  While HB 1995 wouldn’t guarantee release to anyone, it recognized that children should be treated differently in the adult criminal justice system and that no child should be sentenced to die in prison.  Despite these ongoing discussions, in the last two days of the legislative session, several legislators had rushed, closed-door negotiations and passed SB 590 without consulting any advocates.  This bill allows for life-without-parole sentences for children under 18 and sentences them to harsh mandatory minimums.  Governor Nixon should veto SB 590 because it’s harmful to Missouri’s children and is out of line with adolescent brain development research, which demonstrates that children can be rehabilitated.  SB 590 moves in the opposite direction of national trends that acknowledge children deserve second chances and will likely be challenged as unconstitutional.

Dear Governor Nixon,

Governor Nixon, please veto SB 590.  On behalf of the Missouri PTA, we believe that all children have the potential to grow and change.  No child should be sentenced to die in prison without any opportunity for review.  After historically being considered a leader in juvenile justice, SB 590 would make Missouri lag behind our neighbors in Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky and states like Texas and West Virginia.  As every parent and teacher knows, teenagers make mistakes, some of which are devastating, but these mistakes shouldn’t condemn them to a life in prison without any hope.  Thank you for vetoing SB 590.

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

You can contact Governor Nixon through this page.


National PTA Disappointed with Senate’s Continued Inaction on Gun Violence Prevention Measures

National PTA Disappointed with Senate’s Continued Inaction on Gun Violence Prevention Measures

 

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (June 20, 2016)—Today, the U.S. Senate considered four amendments to the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill aimed at reducing gun violence. All four amendments were defeated.

 

“National PTA is extremely disappointed with the Senate’s failure to reach bipartisan consensus and act on measures that would actively address gun violence prevention,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “It is critical that members of Congress work together to enact common-sense legislative solutions to help make communities safer nationwide and protect children and families.”

 

National PTA has a strong history of supporting and advocating for laws and regulations in the areas of gun safety and violence prevention. For decades, the association has called on Congress and other elected officials to work collaboratively and make meaningful changes to prevent and eliminate violence in schools and communities.

 

National PTA has long believed that we need to:

 

  • Require universal background checks for the sale and possession of firearms
  • Limit the availability of high-capacity magazines
  • Re-enact a federal ban on the sale and possession of military-style assault weapons
  • Provide adequate resources to increase access to comprehensive mental health services

 

“Our country has experienced far too many gun-related tragedies. Eliminating gun violence in communities, schools and homes is a critical priority for all parents, families, educators and students,” said Shannon Sevier, vice president of advocacy for National PTA. “Our number one task as a nation should be to protect our children and families. It’s urgent that meaningful changes are made to ensure everyone has a safe environment to live, work, learn and thrive.”

 

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.


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

hmay@pta.org, (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,

Jacki

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 stully@epe.org.

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

jball@pta.org www.pta.org @balljacki

 

 

K-12 Parents and the Public