Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What This Means: Secretary King Stresses the Necessity of Diversity

Source: PTA One Voice Blog
Posted: 11 Jul 2016 09:09 PM PDT
In a keynote address at the Think BIG… Think PTA! National PTA 2016 Annual Conference, attended by over 1,000 PTA members and advocates, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King voiced the importance of having diverse schools and classrooms. He urged PTA members to “demand diversity—not just in schools but also in the classrooms within those schools,” and added that “diversity is not a nicety but a necessity. Not just for some students, but for all of our students.”

Research shows that diversity of teachers and students results in better academic and life outcomes for all students. Nearly half of today’s public school students identify as non-white, but only 18% of the teaching force identifies this way, resulting in students rarely identifying culturally and racially with their educators.

Congress is taking steps to address the lack of diversity in schools. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) will soon be introducing legislation which would offer grants to help districts create and implement strong voluntary, community-developed plans to increase socioeconomic diversity in their schools while improving student achievement.

Congress cannot tackle this issue alone. Secretary King stressed that PTAs across the country have a unique opportunity to increase diversity within schools. He pressed PTA members to find out if there is a formal outreach effort in place and if not to “start it and lead it.” He went further by stating “if your school is diverse but its PTA doesn’t reflect that diversity, take the time to get to know parents from different backgrounds. Invite them to join you.”

National PTA has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. To further this effort, we recently updated the Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit to help PTA leaders make their PTA more welcoming and inclusive for all children and families by honoring their differences. Be sure to download it for in-depth guidance, but in the meantime, here are a few ways to embrace diversity and multiculturalism in your school community:
  • Make the connection with your community and identify different audiences such as community colleges, hospitals, parks, libraries, etc.
  • Distribute information to staff and families about community resources that serve the cultural, recreational, academic, health, social and other needs of families.
  • Foster student participation in community service and involve community members in school volunteer programs.
  • Disseminate information to the community, including those without school age children, regarding school programs and performance.
  • Collaborate with community agencies to provide family support services and adult learning opportunities, enabling family involvement.
PTA members have an important obligation to ensure that diversity is prioritized in our nation’s schools and to advocate so that every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Diverse student bodies and teaching forces allow students to learn how to work productively with people whose life experiences are different from their own.

Find more resources and information about diversity and inclusion on PTA.org.

Lindsay Kubatzky is the government affairs coordinator for National PTA.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Attention Ohio PTA Advocates

Attention Ohio PTA Advocates

The House Appropriations Committee will markup its Labor, Health and Human Services and Education  (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations bill this Wednesday, July 13 at 10:00 AM, ET.  You can watch the webcast here.

As you know, PTA members have been advocating for funding of the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program. Unfortunately, the program was not included in the House L-HHS-ED appropriations subcommittee bill. This is a critical time to advocate for this important investment in family engagement and we need your help! National PTA would like for you to share the link below with your PTA members with representatives who sit on the House Appropriations Committee. The link will provide you with your representative’s phone number and talking points on SFECs. Note that you can only access the representative’s information if you are a constituent.


Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide assistance or answer any questions. We only have two days until the vote!


Thank you for advocating on behalf of all children!
Ohio PTA Advocacy Committee

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

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

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

Legislative UPDATE / Action Item

The Government Affairs team wanted to share three important pieces of information with you:

1.      House Labor, Health & Human Services and Education Appropriations Mark-up
On Wednesday, July 13th the House Appropriations Committee will mark up its FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED) bill at 10:00am ET.  You can watch the webcast here.  Unfortunately, the LHHS-ED appropriations subcommittee did not include funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs).  We continue to engage with committee members on the importance and need for this program and will continue to do so throughout the appropriations process. 

ACTION ITEM: If you have a representative on the House Appropriations Committee, please call them today and let them know they need to fund SFECs in the bill.  This link provides you with your representative’s phone number and talking points on SFECs. You can only access the representative’s information if you are a constituent. Please share as appropriate with your members.

2.      Legislation Committee Advocacy Survey
The Legislation Committee wants to hear from you and PTA members across the country!  Please take a few minutes to complete the Advocacy Survey by Monday, July 18th.  The committee will be using the feedback to help shape its plan of work for the coming year. Again, please share throughout your PTA networks. 

3.      Advocacy Webinar from the Congressional Management Foundation
National PTA is premier partner of the Partnership for a More Perfect Union, led by the Congressional Management Foundation.  Through our partnership National PTA has access to webinars and materials to help foster better relationships and communication between PTA members and Congress.  Join fellow advocates on Wednesday, July 20 at 1:00pm ET for The Citizen Advocate Toolkit: 8 Essential Tools for Influencing Public Policy webinar. 

This webinar will walk participants through the most effective tools available to every advocate. Participants will learn: 
·         How to leverage social media;
·         Tips for in-district interactions; and
·         Why letters to the editor still work.

      You are encouraged to share this webinar with your PTA members, as it is exclusively available to National PTA and PTA members. However, due to copyright laws, please do not share on public facing websites such as Twitter, Facebook or any other social media accounts. You can share the webinar link through email and newsletters.