National PTA Statement on President Biden’s Address to Congress

Last evening, President Joe Biden delivered his first address to Congress, outlining his plans for infrastructure investment, education and childcare programs, and immigration reform. He also called for racial justice and an end to systemic racism in America, pledged to protect the American people from the epidemic of gun violence, and pledged to protect LGBTQ Americans. National PTA President Leslie Boggs issued the following statement on President Biden’s address.

Since our founding, PTA has been the conscience of the country when it comes to issues that affect children and youth. For years, PTA members have advocated for sensible gun safety and violence prevention policies that will make our communities and schools safer for everyone and save lives. We’ve also called for more to be done to end the problems of unequal justice and institutional and systemic racism in the United States. We’ve further called for explicit protection of LGBTQ youth, as it is critical to their overall health, well-being and long-term success. And we’ve consistently advocated for comprehensive immigration reform and in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

PTA firmly believes that every child deserves to have every opportunity to reach their full potential in life and every person deserves to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed to all Americans, regardless of their race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability or socioeconomic status. National PTA applauds President Biden’s commitment to racial justice and ending systemic racism in America, addressing gun violence, protecting LGBTQ youth and advancing immigration reform. We, too, call on Congress to urgently address these issues.

President Biden also outlined in his address his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, which call for vital investments in infrastructure and education, preschool, childcare and nutrition programs. National PTA believes schools are a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure and it is essential that investments are made to repair, renovate and modernize school facilities to ensure they are safe and well-equipped to advance student achievement, grow our economy and improve our competitiveness. National PTA also believes that children must have access to nutritious foods and beverages to thrive in and out of the classroom; preschool programs should be affordable and accessible to all families; safe, quality and affordable childcare is paramount for children, families and our economy; and educator leadership is an important investment. The investments included in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan are essential to making this a reality.

Investing in America’s children is an investment in our nation’s future. As we have throughout our history, National PTA remains committed to working closely with the administration and Congress to ensure investments are made so that every child’s potential becomes a reality.

National PTA Statement on Shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School

National PTA President Leslie Boggs issued the following statement on the shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tenn.:

“National PTA and all PTA members nationwide are deeply saddened to hear of the shooting that occurred today at Austin-East Magnet High School. As more and more schools across the country have and are continuing to reopen for in-person instruction, parents should not have to fear for the safety of their children due to senseless gun violence. More must be done immediately to protect our nation’s children and families. We cannot wait any longer.

“Year after year, PTA members advocate for sensible gun safety and violence prevention policies that will help keep children safe. Our association believes policies and legislation must:

  • Fund research on the causes and effects of gun violence on youth and communities, as well as evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.
  • Establish education programs to teach students, parents and community members about gun safety and violence prevention.
  • Require a waiting period and a comprehensive background check for all individuals prior to purchasing a firearm.
  • Restrict internet gun sales, including kits that can be used to make and modify guns.
  • Ban access to military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.

“Limiting access to firearms and assault weapons and strengthening background checks can and will save lives. Common-sense legislation must be enacted today to help prevent future tragedies from occurring.

“PTA members are first and foremost advocates for the safety and well-being of all children. We encourage everyone to get involved in our efforts to protect every child. Our association has developed resources for parents to ensure schools are safe and supportive places for their children, as well as tips on how to talk to their children about violence.”

National PTA Statement on Violence Against Asian Americans

National PTA condemns the shootings this week in Atlanta and other recent violence against Asian Americans. Our association stands firmly against racism in all forms and denounces all racial violence in our country. The acts of hate have a profound effect on the communities impacted, and our nation must do better.

It is urgent that we understand, value and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals, appreciating that each contributes a diversity of views, experiences, cultural heritage/traditions, skills/abilities, values and preferences which enriches and strengthens our nation. It is critical that we rise to correct the inequities and injustices that permeate the United States.

National PTA and our constituent associations remain committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion throughout school communities nationwide and ensuring the safety, well-being and future of every child. Our association also remains committed to disrupting the systems that propagate institutional racism. Every child deserves to have every opportunity to reach their full potential, and every person deserves to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed to all Americans.

We can eliminate racism and social injustices and build a better nation for our children’s future when we unite as a community, regardless of race, culture, skin color or language. The events this week were another reminder that this is more important than ever.

National PTA: A Message Regarding Assessments

A message from National PTA’s President Leslie Boggs:

I know that there has been confusion and uncertainty aligned with assessments.  In response, your National PTA’s Board of Directors met last week and has approved two amendments to the 2016 position statement on assessment.  These important changes were collaboratively developed by National PTA’s Legislation Committee with input and insight from many volunteers. The two amendments were added to the 2016 position statement on assessments to highlight that states should have flexibility during a national emergency or crisis in both delivery and administration of assessments to ensure that all students are assessed equitably in a safe environment.

Below, please find links to:

Thank you for all that you do for PTA.

National PTA Statement on Miguel Cardona’s Confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Education

National PTA applauds the confirmation of Dr. Miguel Cardona as U.S. Secretary of Education. As a former public-school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent and the commissioner of education for the state of Connecticut, Dr. Cardona understands the challenges and opportunities facing our nation’s public-school students, families and educators, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight for racial justice and equity in our country.

During his confirmation hearing, Dr. Cardona vowed to take a collaborative approach to reopening schools for in-person instruction. National PTA has been calling for any decision to reopen schools to involve parents, families, students, educators, school employees, public health experts and community members in the planning, implementation and monitoring stages of reopening. 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.

Dr. Cardona also vowed during his hearing to address the educational inequities exacerbated by the pandemic and forge opportunity out of crisis. This next phase of ‘returning to school’ is an important chance to ensure every child has every opportunity to reach their fullest potential, regardless of their zip code. The long-term success of our nation depends on all children having access to a high-quality education.

Further, during his hearing Dr. Cardona discussed how imperative it is to invest in public education. National PTA has long advocated for investments in public education and our association remains steadfast in our belief the public education must be strengthened with the support of adequate funding. Our public education system gives our children access to opportunities, experiences and knowledge—regardless of their race, religion, ability or socioeconomic status—that build the skills they need to succeed in the competitive global economy. Decades of underinvestment in education has created unsustainable situations in so many of our nation’s schools, shortchanging students. Investments must be made to ensure every public school has the proper resources to help every child learn, grow and succeed.

National PTA looks forward to informing Secretary Cardona on all of our association’s public policy priorities. We stand ready to work with Secretary Cardona and the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that every child has access to a fair, equitable and high-quality education. As Dr. Cardona said, ‘we gain strengthen from joining together,’ and together, we can make every child’s potential a reality.