National PTA White Paper Reveals Families are Essential to Bridge STEM Gap

National PTA White Paper Reveals Families are Essential to Bridge STEM Gap

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 11, 2016)—National PTA announced today the release of a white paper on the essential role of family engagement in increasing students’ access to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)—especially among girls and underrepresented youth. The white paper is the result of an analysis of STEM education research and STEM programs; a panel discussion with PTA members and STEM education and equity experts; and a convening of thought leaders in STEM, family engagement and education.

 

“STEM jobs in the United States are growing twice as fast as other fields. As a result, the demand for qualified STEM professionals is high, but the supply of qualified STEM workers is low—especially among underrepresented groups like minorities and women,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “The gap in the STEM pipeline is not a new problem, but intentionally engaging families is an essential new solution.”

 

Among the findings highlighted in the report:

 

  • Families are unaware of the vast career opportunities in STEM and rely on their own experiences with STEM subjects to guide perceptions about STEM for their children
  • Families are not equipped to support STEM education decision-making or to guide their children toward STEM career pathways
  • Families have not been empowered to advocate for high-quality STEM education and programs for all students in school, home, community or digital settings

 

“We know—and decades of research proves—that family engagement is essential to children’s success. We also know that families play an important role in helping students navigate educational and career decisions and are influencers of students’ perceptions of what’s possible for their futures,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “Shifting the conversation to include families as meaningful partners in STEM education and career pathways is critical to bridging the STEM gap.”

 

The white paper is part of National PTA’s new STEM Plus Families initiative. National PTA launched STEM PlusFamilies with the founding support of Bayer USA Foundation and Mathnasium. Bayer is the lead corporate supporter for the “S” in STEM, and Mathnasium is providing support for the “M.”

 

“Families are critical to nurturing a child’s interest in STEM subjects during school and, eventually, pursuing a STEM career,” said Dr. Mae C. Jemison, ambassador of Bayer’s Making Science Making Sense® science literacy program. “The findings of National PTA’s STEM Plus Families white paper support this position as well as the direct positive correlation between robust STEM careers and the long-term prosperity of the United States.”

 

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.

 

About Bayer Corporation
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their lives. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.us.

 

About Mathnasium

Mathnasium, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. The result of 40+ years of instruction and research, the Mathnasium Method has transformed the way children understand and appreciate math—whether they’re ahead of the curve, performing at grade level, or falling behind. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest-growing educational franchises, with a new center opening each week. There are more than 700 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit Mathnasium.com or call (877) 601-MATH.

 

Media Contact

Heidi May Wilson, National PTA

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


Sesame Street for Military Families

Young children are not immune to the stresses of military family life. If you have a preschooler, you know that relocations and deployments can be hard on the little ones.

The new Sesame Street for Military Families site can help youngsters through these times. With videos and activities for the kids and tips for the parents, the site and mobile apps take on the challenges–including injury and even death of a parent–with the special comfort that Elmo and Friends provide.


PTA Founders Day

PTA Founders Day, February 17, is a reminder of the substantial role that PTA has played locally, regionally, and nationally in supporting parent involvement and working on behalf of all children and families. It’s a time to renew our commitment to be a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education.

Three pioneering women created a national voice for all children: PTA.

We are their legacy.

Alice McLellan Birney ———— Phoebe Apperson Hearst ———– Selena Sloan Butler

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——1858–1907 ———————— 1842–1919 ca. ———————- 1872–1964

 

The organization was founded in 1897 in Washington D.C. as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. If not for these women and their vision and determination, there would not be a PTA—an organization that has been woven into the very fabric of American life. Their concern and dedication to the nation’s children was and still is truly inspirational.

National PTA was created to meet a profound challenge: to better the lives of children. Today, PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation and it continues to flourish because PTA has never lost sight of its goal—to change the lives of children across our great nation for the better. For more than a century, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has provided support, information and resources to families focused on the education, safety, health and well-being of children. PTA’s founders, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, and the founder of Georgia’s Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, Selena Sloan Butler, were women of imagination and courage. They understood the power of individual action, worked beyond the accepted barriers of their day and took action to literally change the world. They had a simple idea—to improve the lives and futures of all of our children. As much as other conditions in America may have changed, that idea has not. PTA members, units and councils keep it alive.

National Founders Day has been observed by the National PTA since 1910 and continues strongly today. Founders Day is a reminder of the substantial role that PTA has played locally, regionally and nationally in supporting parent involvement and working on behalf of all children and families. It is a time to reflect and take pride in our many accomplishments and to renew our commitment to be a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for parents and a strong advocate for public education.

Many PTA Units and Councils hold yearly celebrations in observance of this day. These celebrations are held in honor of all the outstanding accomplishments and milestones that PTA has reached. Local Units and Councils may celebrate in any manner in which they choose.

Some of the ways you might celebrate include:

●Holding an annual dinner for PTA officers and school staff. This could be a formal sit down dinner or it might be a buffet or even a picnic.

●You may wish to recognize a special principal, teacher or staff member who has made positive differences in the lives of children. You can honor them with a Missouri PTA Distinguished Service Award.

●Donations of books to the library in honor of someone who exemplifies what PTA stands for.

●Donations to the State or National PTA, showing continued support of the efforts of PTA.

●Message on a billboard or sign recognizing PTA Founders Day.

●At your February meeting have a birthday cake and invite all your past presidents to join you, recognize them with a flower or similar item.

However you choose to celebrate Founders Day, just remember what we are celebrating–our founders and all the hard work that they did and our current and past PTA officers who continue to work tirelessly on behalf of children.