Oklahoma Child Advocate Installed as President of National PTA

Anna King, a dedicated and passionate child advocate from Oklahoma City, Okla., has been installed as the 57th president of National PTA, the nation’s preeminent volunteer child advocacy association. King’s installation took place at the conclusion of the 2021 National PTA Virtual Convention & Expo.

A mother of three and a proud grandmother of 10, King firmly believes everything is possible for all children and is committed to making sure the mission of PTA becomes a reality for every child in the United States.

King has over 20 years of leadership experience at all levels of PTA. For the past two years, she served as president-elect of National PTA. She also served as vice president of membership for National PTA from 2017-2019. At the state level, she served as president of Oklahoma PTA from 2011-2013. At the local level, she currently serves as a secretary for Douglass High School PTSA.

“Anna’s passion for PTA is rooted in her love for children and her desire to make sure our mission works for every single child in our country,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “Her passion and dedication will be tremendous assets in guiding our association’s work to make every child’s potential a reality, which is more important than ever as our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and in the fight for racial justice and equity. We are pleased to welcome Anna as our president.”

Under King’s leadership, National PTA will focus its work in three key areas: (1) growth in mission and membership, (2) leadership development and (3) organizational effectiveness. The association will also focus on diversity, equity and inclusion for justice; the PTA brand—which includes culture and communications for a new era—and advocacy for impact at all levels.

“The pandemic brought much needed attention to the inequities in our schools and communities that have existed for far too long. PTA will continue to tackle tough—but necessary—conversations in the coming years to create a better future for our children,” said King. “At PTA, we loudly use our voices to demand more for our kids and ensure they can become all that they can be. I look forward to leading National PTA and working with our members nationwide as we continue to be that one voice for every child.”

King is also involved in many other community activities. She is the OK-Moms Demand Action School Safety co-lead, a member of the WestEd Advisory Board and the Douglass Law and Public Safety Academy Board, and an Equity Advisory member for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

King will serve as president of National PTA until June 2023.

National PTA Statement on Situation at the Border

During his first address to Congress last week, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass the immigration reform bill he introduced on the first day of his presidency. National PTA, too, calls on Congress to pass bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. More must be done to address the situation at our nation’s border.

This year, a record-breaking number of unaccompanied children have crossed the border. While they have been allowed to remain in the United States, many are being held in cramped shelters not suitable for children and are being held longer than allowed by law. The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement (Flores) lays out the protections and expectations regarding the detention, release and care of all children—both accompanied and unaccompanied undocumented children—arriving in the United States. It is essential that undocumented children—and all children—are adequately cared for and are treated with dignity and respect.

National PTA firmly believes that every child residing in the United States—regardless of their immigration status—has the right of access to adequate food and shelter, basic health care services and a high-quality public education. Two of our association’s founding principles are to promote the safety and well-being of all children and youth and to advocate for children and families who are most vulnerable. We remain committed to raising our voice for the children being held at the border.

National PTA urges policymakers to work together to address the situation at our nation’s border and the issue of immigration in a fair, appropriate and equitable way. Bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform is needed immediately.

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.