National PTA Calls on Congress to Provide More Resources Immediately to Schools

For months, we have been calling on Congress to provide more emergency funding to K-12 public schools to help address challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources are even more critical now as schools are working to plan and prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, and especially for them to safely reopen for in-person instruction. We cannot wait any longer. For many districts and schools, the new school year begins in just a few, short weeks. Congress must take action and provide these vital resources immediately.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and we cannot downplay the critical nature of the virus. The number one priority of all parents is the health and safety of their children, and it is essential that students return to school in the safest way possible. There cannot be a one-size fits all process for the reopening of schools. Plans for reopening must account for the current impact of the virus on individual communities; follow guidance from health practitioners, infectious disease doctors and public health experts; and include input from parents, families, students, educators and school employees.

“National PTA is calling on Congress to immediately provide more resources for public schools to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and to address the health, safety, infrastructure and physical, psychological, social and emotional needs of students, educators and staff. Our association is also urging Congress to provide dedicated resources to connect students to the internet; emergency funding for family engagement; funding for students with disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and to increase funding for child nutrition programs to prevent, prepare for and respond to food insecurities related to the pandemic and help schools adapt to new food service and meal protocols as students go back to school.

“It is also critical that Congress in no way attach incentives or conditions on federal funds for the physical reopening of schools or create voucher programs or other mechanisms to funnel public dollars to private schools in the next COVID-19 relief package. Children are the future of our nation, and we must keep them safe. Decisions on how to reopen schools must be based on what is best and safest for children and educators in individual communities. Our public schools are already woefully under-resourced, and they should not have to compromise students’ health and safety to get the funding they need to help every child learn, grow and reach their fullest potential.

“National PTA remains committed to advocating to safeguard the health and safety of our nation’s children and make sure students, families and schools have what they need during this challenging time.”

As part of its effort to advocate for and support students, families, educators and schools amid the pandemic, National PTA is joining other education groups this evening on a webinar about the impact of COVID-19 on children and how we can help mitigate risks for transmission in schools. The webinar will feature physicians from the Infectious Disease Society of America and will take place beginning at 7 p.m. EDT. To register, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NThhMubYR9Sa4Ucdzl6S1Q.


Special Joint Event: How Can We Safely Reopen Schools in the Fall?

How Can We Safely Reopen Schools in the Fall?

A special event for the education community and parents to dialogue with health experts

Webinar | July 16, 2020 7:00–8:15 pm ET

A recording of the webinar can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3671308889552138

The slide presentation is accessible here: https://www.pta.org/docs/default-source/files/advocacy/2020/reopening-event-slides-7-16-20.pdf

Please submit your questions or comments to: govtaffairs@pta.org.

 

When COVID-19 began its slow spread across the country, schools in every state shut their doors to help flatten the curve—and they stayed closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the 2019–20 school year. And while businesses and other industries are beginning to reopen, it’s clear that the economy relies on our public education system for true recovery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have released their guidelines for reopening K–12 schools, though many questions remain as states and school districts develop their plans for the fall. Join physicians from the Infectious Diseases Society of America as they discuss what is known about COVID-19 and its impact on children and youth, as well as how we can help mitigate risks for transmission in schools for students and staff.

 

Moderator

The Honorable John B. King Jr.
President and CEO, The Education Trust
Former U.S. Secretary of Education

 

Presenters

Wendy Armstrong, MD
IDSA Board of Directors, Emory University School of Medicine

Tina Tan, MD
IDSA Board of Directors, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Co-Hosted by:

AASA, The School Superintendents’ Association

American School Counselor Association

Association of Educational Service Agencies

Association of School Business Officials International

Council of Administrators of Special Education

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Learning First Alliance

National Association of Elementary School Principals

National Association of School Psychologists

National Association of Secondary School Principals

National Association of State Boards of Education

National Association of State Directors of Special Education

National Education Association

National PTA

National School Boards Association

School-Based Health Alliance

The Education Trust


National PTA Disappointed with Supreme Court’s Ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue Case

National PTA is disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, allowing taxpayer dollars to be diverted to private schools. Tax credits and vouchers fund the education of only a few, select students; divert resources from the students and schools that need it the most; and lack accountability measures. National PTA opposes any private school choice system that drains vital public-school resources. Public dollars must remain in public schools for the benefit of all students and the future of our nation.

Our public education system provides all children access to opportunities, experiences and knowledge that improve their overall well-being—regardless of their race, religion, ability or socioeconomic status. Taxpayer dollars for education must carry the responsibility for providing public access, governance and accountability. National PTA has long advocated for equitable, high-quality public education to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

As part of this advocacy work, National PTA joined with the National School Boards Association to file an amicus brief in opposition to the tax credit scholarship program. Our association remains committed to advocating for public dollars to remain in public schools so that every child’s potential becomes a reality.


National PTA Adopts Position Statement on Reopening of Public PreK-12 Schools for the 2020-2021 School Year

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the National PTA Board of Directors has adopted a position statement on the reopening of public preK-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The statement calls for any decision to reopen schools to involve parents, families, students, educators, school employees, public health experts, health practitioners and community members in the planning, implementation and monitoring stages of reopening. It also calls on federal and state governments to provide the funding necessary to ensure that schools have the resources they need to reopen as safely and successfully as possible.

“Our utmost priority during this crisis continues to be the health and safety of all students, educators, school employees and families. Our association remains committed to advocating for our nation’s students, families and schools to ensure they have what they need during this challenging time,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA. “National PTA believes that inclusive stakeholder engagement is essential for effective decision making and successful implementation of school reopening plans, particularly engagement with parents and students to address unique family needs. We also need significant, immediate and continuing federal and state funding as many of our nation’s school districts are already working without the resources they need to provide an equitable education to all students, and recovery from the pandemic is an added strain.”

National PTA’s position is that plans for reopening must incorporate the best available science and expertise of infectious disease doctors and health practitioners. Plans shall also strictly follow the most up to date Center for Disease Control guidelines, including but not limited to reasonable social distancing, rigorous sanitizing processes and viral screening and testing protocols. The association recognizes that there will not be a one-size fits all process for the reopening of schools.

As outlined in the position statement, effective stakeholder engagement must be inclusive, transparent, provide multiple opportunities for input and include meaningful, clear and concise communication. National PTA recommends that all information and protocols be disseminated to parents, families, students and communities, following current best practices for family and student engagement. The association urges that all communications must be accessible to parents with disabilities and available in other languages.

As also included in the position statement, National PTA strongly supports a robust federal investment to address the impact of budget cuts on public schools and to help pay for the costs for schools to reopen safely and successfully. Recent cost-analyses by national education groups have demonstrated the urgent need for congressional action to ensure schools have what they need to operate safe and healthy environments and provide high-quality teaching and learning. National PTA urges Congress to provide at least $175 billion in funding for preK-12 education in the next COVID-19 relief package. These resources need to be provided now so that schools can begin planning and preparing to reopen in the fall.

“Our public education system is the major vehicle for perpetuating the basic values of a democratic system of government. However, our public schools have been woefully under-resourced for decades,” added Boggs. “Investments in our public education system are more critical now than ever before. Investments must be made immediately to ensure every public school has the proper resources to help every child learn, grow and reach their fullest potential while keeping them safe and healthy.”

In addition to the position statement on reopening of public preK-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year, the National PTA Board of Directors also adopted a position statement in April on Distance and Remote Learning for K12 Students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, National PTA launched a comprehensive webpage at PTA.org/COVID-19 with resources, tools and information to support families and educators amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The association has also focused several episodes of its Notes from the Backpack podcast on topics of concern for families due to COVID-19. Additionally, National PTA is granting $1.5M to PTAs across the country to help meet critical needs of students, families, teachers and schools due to the virus.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on and presented many challenges for families and schools,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA and PTAs across the country remain committed to supporting students, families and schools in this time of crisis.”


June 2020 News from National PTA

LEARNING HEROES: Learning Heroes has released their NEW parent/guardian report, Parents 2020: COVID-19 Closures – A Redefining Moment for Students, Parents and Schools. The survey found that despite significant challenges, many parents are engaging deeply in their children’s remote learning and will show up differently next school year. Read the new #Parents2020 report now and share!

NATIONAL PTA FOOD INSECURITY WEBINAR: According to the USDA, 37.2 million people lived in food-insecure households in 2018. Over the last few months, we have seen firsthand how families struggle with food insecurity and hunger. Join National PTA in our four-part Food Insecurity Webinar Series designed to engage with PTAs and parents on food insecurity and empower them by providing tips on how to work to reduce food insecurity within their schools and for their families. Get webinar details and registration information here.

JUNE 1 – SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE: Enrollment for the 2020-21 School of Excellence program opens on June 1 at PTA.org/Excellence. Encourage your local units to make the commitment to rebuilding in the wake of COVID-19 for an improved family-school partnership and earn recognition for their accomplishments. Encourage and track enrollment using the resources provided on the State Excellence Library at PTA.org/StateExcellenceLibrary, a hidden website designed only for State PTA Excellence Leaders.