Tell Congress to #STOPCutsToClassrooms

Our public schools are at a crisis point. Federal funding for public education has remained at 2% of the federal budget for decades, despite the increase in public school enrollment and the rising cost of education resources and services. This disparity between funding and actual cost means that Congress has essentially made cuts to classroom budgets across the nation.

These overall classroom funding cuts couldn’t be coming at a worse time. Today’s classrooms are more in need of funding than ever—most public-school students are now from low-income families, yet federal spending for high-poverty schools has decreased by more than 8% in recent years. There are also more students with special needs in our nation’s schools than ever before, but funding to serve these students has also decreased.

Congress must agree on the federal budget by Oct. 1, 2017. With restrictions on how much the government can spend in fiscal year 2018, there is a strong possibility that funding for education will be cut.

Already this year, President Donald Trump proposed cutting $9.2 billion. More recently, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed a cut of $2.4 billion. Both proposed cuts would be extremely damaging to public schools that already struggle to give students the education they deserve.

All PTA members and education advocates must take a stand. Tell your friends and family to demand that Congress “STOP Cuts to Classrooms” and invest more than 2% in public education before the Oct. 1, 2017 deadline.

One way to spread the word is by doing the National PTA #STOPCutsToClassrooms social media challenge. It’s easy!

  1. First, sign the #STOPCutsToClassrooms petition
  2. Then, take a picture and/or videoof yourself holding the “I signed the petition to #STOPCutsToClassrooms” official sign and post the image on your social media platforms.
  3. Finally, tag up to three friends to encourage them to do the same.

For those who have already signed the petition and taken the challenge, please continue to participate in Funding Fridays every Friday until September 29. Also stay tuned for the release of a #STOPCutsToClassrooms letter to Congress in September.

For more information about the #STOPCutsToClassrooms campaign and to learn more about the state of federal funding for education programs, visit PTA.org/STOPCuts.

Joshua Westfall is the government affairs manager at National PTA.

Are You Engaged?

As PTA members, you know that family engagement is an important part of your child’s successful development and academic outcomes.  You participate on school advisory committees, lead parent advocacy, work with teachers in their classrooms, read all about ESSA and other regulations related to children’s health and education, and inspire your community to support all children.  Family engagement is evolving from “involvement” in the sense of families receiving a one-way stream of information and sponsoring endless fundraisers at school.  Instead, it’s the opportunity to build relationships between two crucial components of a child’s life together–families and school personnel–to further support their successful education, well-being and development.

As a parent, you have plenty of options, depending on availability, interests, skills, and personal constraints, to be engaged.  Many of you are finding ways such as these to do become a part of your child’s school community.

  • Establishing positive relationships with school administrators and teachers.
  • Meeting with teachers about academic and social development goals for your child. If you aren’t exactly sure what to ask your child’s teacher, check the Department of Education’s Parent Checklist to get started.
  • Attending PTA or school meetings to find out about the issues in your school.  Ask questions if other’s aren’t bringing up the things that matter to your child’s success or your community.
  • Volunteering on a committee that focuses on an activity or issue important to you, whether it’s school transportation, safe places to play after-school, teacher diversity, bullying or academics.
  • Voicing your opinion to local and state Boards of Education and local, state, and national elected officials on things that matter to your family.
  • Keeping up with and providing input on your state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. Check your state’s education website to find out about your parent representative and the developing plans.

Being engaged in education doesn’t require endless free time or multiple degrees and in-depth knowledge about schools. You just need a concern for your child and a little bit of time to act on that concern.

We know you are engaged in your schools, supporting your community and the Department of Education wants to hear from you.  If you’ve been recognized for your involvement in education by your state, share your story.  What did you do to garner such recognition? What lessons have you learned through your involvement?  What tips do you have for other parents who want to be engaged in their schools?

The Department of Education’s Family Ambassador, Frances Frost, wants to feature you in an upcoming Family, School and Community Engagement Newsletter, distributed monthly by the Department.  Submit your story for consideration, in 400 words or less, with your contact information to carrie.jasper@ed.gov, with the subject line “Parent Involvement for Newsletter.”

Frances Frost is the Family Ambassador at the U.S. Department of Education, serving as an advocate for family engagement in education and equitable opportunities for learning for all children. She brings the family voice to discussions at a national level and facilitates discussions between the Department, families and family engagement stakeholders.

ASK (Asking Saves Kids)

Across the country, children are anxiously waiting for the final bell of the school year to ring in summer break. During this time of year, my two kids were always full of energy and ready for the warm weather and hours spent outside with friends, neighbors and extended family. They’re older now, but in those first few days of playdates, picnics and barbecues there was one thing that was always on my mind: is there a gun where my children are playing?

More than 18,000 American children and teens are injured or killed by guns every year, making firearms the second leading cause of death for young people. These numbers are tragic and shocking, but they also shouldn’t be a surprise when an astonishing 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, many of which are left unlocked or loaded. This is why I ask—and encourage all other parents to do the same—this life-saving question of fellow parents, friends and relatives: “is there a gun in the home where my child plays?”

And this is why the Brady Campaign developed the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign: to prevent as many unintentional youth firearm deaths as possible by spreading the message that guns in the home increase the risk of an accidental shooting or suicide. We know that the safest home for a child is one without a gun, but this isn’t an attack on the Second Amendment rights of Americans or gun owners. We simply believe that parents who choose to keep a gun in the home should take steps to reduce the risk of a tragedy by making sure it is properly locked and stored separately from live ammunition.

And teachers and fellow parents, and even doctors and childcare professionals, can all play an important role in spreading the word about this critical public health and child safety issue.

More than 80 percent of unintentional firearm deaths of children under 15 occur in a home. No child should become a statistic, so we should all bring this topic up every time we have the chance. From one parent to another, I know you may worry that this conversation could get uncomfortable. But I also know that awkward topics just come with the territory of having children, and that this one question can lead to a host of productive discussions that may save a kid’s life. In the same way that you make sure peanut butter sandwiches won’t be served at a party in your home or classroom if your child has a nut allergy, or when you inquire about rules at a sleepover, asking about guns should be a regular question.

We’ve put together some tools that make it easier to start these conversations, and share this message with your friends, family, communities, and networks. Download our ASK Toolkit, which is chock full of tips, resources, and statistics and has everything you need to get started as a leader on this issue in your community. Read the PTA letter that you can share with other parents to get them involved in this movement.

As parents and teachers, all we want is for our children to grow up into healthy, happy adults. I know I would do anything to make that dream a reality, and I’m sure you would, too. By neglecting the topic of guns, we ignore a critical opportunity to ensure our children have the chance to grow up into those adults that we want them to become.

Dan Gross is President of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Trump Budget: A Bad Deal for Kids

On May 24, 2017, President Donald Trump released his budget proposal for the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 which included a proposed cut of $9.2 billion to the U.S. Department of Education from last year’s funding level. This proposed cut to education programs comes on the heels of Congress cutting funding for federal education programs in FY 2017.

The President’s budget would maintain the same level of funding from FY 2017 for Title I, which aids schools with high percentages of children from low-income families, special education grants through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs)—centers that provide information and services to families to help support students with disabilities. Additionally, the President’s budget does not include investments for family engagement in education through the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program and eliminates more than 20 education programs including: educator professional development; after school programs; preschool grants and grants that aim to ensure students receive well-rounded educational opportunities, learn in healthy and safe school environments and have opportunities to use technology in the classroom.

On top of these cuts, the President’s budget includes a new $250 million grant program that would allow public dollars to be used for private and religious school tuition. National PTA has a long standing position opposing private school choice systems that would divert public school resources. National PTA is also concerned about a new grant program in Title I that would allocate $1 billion to “follow” a child to any public school which would significantly impact the distribution of funds across and within Title I districts and create division and separation within communities.

Federal funding for education programs has remained at 2% of the federal budget for decades, despite continuous growth in public school enrollment and the increased cost of education resources and services. The President’s budget would decrease the federal investment in education below 2%. Such devastating cuts to education at the federal level are combined with state and local cuts to education that further lessen the opportunities for every child to reach their full potential.

It is important to remember that the President’s budget proposal is exactly that, a proposal to Congress outlining the Trump Administration’s priorities. The funding power lies with Congress to decide what federal programs will be funded and at what levels each year. There is a need to invest more in education programs at the federal level. Federal funding for education at, or below, 2% of the federal budget is a cut to classrooms.

If you agree that 2% of federal funding for public education is not enough and future cuts to education would be catastrophic for the future of our children, Take Action today and tell your member of Congress to increase investments for public education so that every child’s potential becomes a reality.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @National PTA and sign up for the National PTA’s Takes Action Newsletter to participate in the advocacy campaign and receive the latest information on PTA’s advocacy efforts.

Joshua Westfall is the government affairs manager at National PTA.

The Power and Peril of Myth for Today’s College Students

Originally published on GatesFoundation.org. 

We are now entering what is perhaps my favorite time of the year: graduation season. As a veteran faculty member and administrator, I have fond memories of commencement ceremonies, seeing the joy and pride in the faces of graduates and their families and knowing many of the stories behind those smiles.

While graduation season is filled with inspiring stories of persistence, sacrifice, and accomplishment, it also gives rise to some lingering myths about our students and what it takes for them to get to graduation. These myths hurt students because they help preserve a status quo in which not enough of them succeed. We can and must bust these myths.

MYTH 1: College is not for everyone, and too many people are going to college. When many people hear the word “college,” they think only of four-year universities and rightly argue that not everyone needs a four-year degree.

But in today’s world, it is important to define college as a meaningful credential after high school – everything from short-term certificates in areas such as information technology to doctorates that can take up to a decade to complete. By that standard, we don’t have enough people going to college. Leading labor market projections show that our economy could face a shortfall of up to 11 million credentialed workers by 2025. And the data are clear that today’s labor market clearly favors those with post-high school education, with nearly all of the post-recession jobs going to those with more than a high school diploma. Additionally, it is becoming more difficult to earn a family-supporting wage with a high school diploma or less.

It is time to stop arguing over whether everyone needs college and instead focus on the kind of college that different people need. Otherwise we have no hope of reaching a national attainment goal of 60 percent of adults with a credential of value – or coming anywhere close to it.

MYTH 2: Students don’t make it through college because they are not college material. I’ve had the opportunity to observe and be part of conversations with policymakers and opinion leaders, and the discussion of why students drop out nearly always ends up in some version of the film Animal House…students weren’t motivated to study and/or partied too much. It’s a convenient and time-honored narrative.

Unfortunately, the facts indicate otherwise. Four in 10 of today’s college students are 25 or older, more than one-quarter of them have children, nearly two-thirds of them are working while enrolled, and one-third of them come from households earning $20,000 or less per year. These students are plenty motivated. But they are also juggling work, family, and studies with little margin for error, and are trying to navigate institutions that are not prepared to teach when they are ready to learn and not equipped to help them plot a course. And the story of students being able to work their way through college is heartwarming but hopelessly outdated.

Institutions like Sinclair Community College saw that, and began to develop tools that helped students understand and take ownership of their path to a degree, no matter where it started. And they got results. Students participating in their technology assisted advising program graduate at twice the rate of students who do not.

MYTH 3: Income might be a barrier to a college degree, but race isn’t. I wish more than anything that this statement was true. But it simply is not. Our colleges and universities have made great strides in expanding access in the last generation – the share of non-white students has doubled. At the same time, attainment gaps between white and black students and white and Hispanic students have stubbornly persisted and even worsened over the same period.

The good news is that an increasing number of institutions are taking action to close those gaps, and some, like Georgia State University, already have. And they will tell you that they didn’t get there through big pronouncements or massive infusions of funding (in fact, many did in situations of declining funding), but by doing the small things right, like helping students correct course registration mistakes that, left unchanged, would have eventually led to dropout.

Myths aren’t in and of themselves bad things – some of the richest stories of all time trace their roots back to ancient Greece and Rome. But when it comes to our students and what they can bring to our communities and our economy, mythology needs to give way to reality.

Dan Greenstein is the director of postsecondary success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Moms Speak Out for More Recess

The following blog was originally published on SHAPE America. 

Across the country, advocates are calling for schools and school districts to make recess a priority as a way to boost academic performance, improve behavior, enhance emotional well-being, and contribute to physical literacy among students.

Read how two moms have taken on this fight in their school district and learn what steps you can take to get involved.

BARBARA LARRIMORE
Prince William County School District, Virginia

I first noticed a problem when my son started coming home from kindergarten with holes bitten into his collars and shirts. He had never exhibited any nervous behaviors before, but I did not put the pieces together until much later.

When he started first grade, I listened to the teacher say how wonderful it was to have recess at 3:00 in the afternoon. I was horrified, but did nothing because I just assumed this was how schools operate. I thought, what hope do I have to change them?

However, then I discovered that very successful school districts in our area had much better policies on PE and recess, and from that moment forward I have not paused in the pursuit of a more balanced schedule for our elementary school children that takes into account their basic needs as well as their academic needs.

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Barbara Larrimore speaking at school board meeting.

I am currently working on a plan for an agenda item to be voted on by the school board that would allow 30 minutes of recess a day for all grades at the elementary school level.

Here are my tips for other parents who want to advocate for more recess:

  • Talk to other parents. You will be surprised how many people share the same thoughts! Exchange stories and experiences, and form groups to speak at school board meetings.
  • Speak to your school board representatives and your local delegates. They are elected to listen to the wants and needs of their constituents. Find out if there are barriers to overcome or more avenues to explore at the local and state level.
  • Create a way for people to “plug in,” whether it’s a hashtag or Facebook page with a memorable name like “More Recess in PWC” so people can find out more information and sign petitions.

Read more about Barbara Larrimore’s advocacy efforts in her school district.

CHRISTINE DAVIS
Madison School District, Arizona

I organized Madison Parents for Recess (now Arizonans for Recess) last school year when our K-4 school went from two recesses a day to one — and made the kids sit quietly in the library during that one recess on high-heat days in August and September.

When I asked why the students couldn’t go to the gym for recess, school administrators said it was “because the kids would feel free to run around in the gym.” The shock of that answer, indicating a presumption against movement/physical activity, compelled my action, as did a few calls confirming that most large/urban schools in Arizona had gone to one short daily recess, combined with a hurried lunch.

Word of the Facebook group spread quickly and I learned many parents had been wanting to gather around the recess issue. As we began advocating with school and district officials, and ultimately our school board, teachers and administrators (both active and retired) began joining the group, and we started adding stakeholders from the health, education and business sectors.

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Christine Davis (left) advocating at a school board
meeting with her former fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Adams.

Ultimately, we were unsuccessful at the local level last year. Despite the multidisciplinary consensus concerning the benefits of recess, test anxiety still trumps best practices, and it is very hard to restore something once it has been lost. So now we are at the legislature, asserting that local control has been local neglect when it comes to kids and recess. We are also pressing our districts to create robust wellness policies and functioning site-level school wellness committees. It is a multi-layered effort.

My advice to other advocates would be:

  • Use social media to educate and gather parents, educators and health professionals.
  • Use the media and all available policy, administrative and legislative processes to improve school recess.
  • Share the work and be respectful, but bold. Don’t stop. Our kids truly need us here.
  • Feel free to join Arizonans for Recess to share resources.

Read more about how Christine Davis started advocating for recess in her school district.

Michelle Carter is the Senior Program Manager at SHAPE America. 

National PTA Joins 11 Other Child Welfare Groups Calling Out State Bills Attacking Trans Youth

This week, the National PTA joined 11 other child welfare organizations to call out state bills that would discriminate against transgender children.

“We, as organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, are deeply alarmed at the flurry of bills introduced in state legislatures around the country this year that would directly harm transgender people, and particularly transgender students,” the letter states. “These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and wellbeing of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect.”

HRC is currently tracking more than 130 anti-LGBTQ legislative proposals in 30 states. For more information on state legislation, visit http://hrc.im/2017legislature.

Transgender young people face significant discrimination and bullying. Last year, North Carolina adopted the infamous HB2, legislation that required discrimination against transgender people, including in public schools. Seventy-five percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school, and, tragically, more than 50 percent of transgender youth report attempting suicide at least once in their lifetime.

The American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; the American Counseling Association; the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO; the American School Counselor Association; the Association of Title IX Administrators; the Child Welfare League of America; the National Association of School Psychologists; the National Association of Secondary School Principals; the National Association of Social Workers; and the National Education Association have all signed the letter.

Read the full letter here.

Hayley Miller is the senior digital media manager for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization.

Federal Funding for Education Programs At Risk in Fiscal Year 2018

Education advocates work hard to increase funding for federal education programs to ensure all children receive a quality education. During tough political climates and hard economic times, these education advocates have always been able to at least maintain the current level of funding for education programs at 2% of the federal budget.

However, much of our progress to increase investments in education—or at a minimum maintain current levels of funding for education—have been put at-risk due to the release of President Trump’s “skinny budget” or “blueprint” for funding priorities in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. President Trump’s proposal would cut funding for public education programs by $9.2 billion.

From the information that is available in the skinny budget, National PTA has concerns about the following proposals:

  • An overall $9.2 billion cut to program under the U.S. Department of Education (13% cut)
  • New $250 million investment to expand private school choice options
  • Eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers—also known as afterschool programs
  • Eliminate Title II state grants to support effective instruction for teachers, principals and other school leaders
  • Eliminate or reduce over 20 programs at the U.S. Department of Education (the full list of programs is not available)

National PTA hopes President Trump’s full budget request (to be released in May) will propose funding for Statewide Family Engagement Centers, Title I, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act state grants, Parent Training and Information Centers and Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.

It’s important to note that the President’s budget request is simply that—a “request” outlining the President’s funding priorities. It is Congress that determines how much funding each federal agency and program will receive each year.

Members of Congress take the President’s budget request into consideration when they are making funding decisions, but constituent requests for certain programs to receive funding almost always take precedent in appropriations bills.

Here are two steps for PTA advocates to take to ensure that Congress adequately invests in public education programs:

  1. Take Action and send a letter to your members of Congress requesting for them to invest in public education and Statewide Family Engagement Centers.
  1. Sign up for National PTA’s Takes Action Newsletter and get the latest information on PTA’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and ways you can get involved.

While National PTA is disappointed that the budget proposal cuts vital funding for public education overall, the association is pleased to see the president maintain funding of $13 billion for special education grants through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

President Trump’s blue print proposes to designate an additional $1 billion for Title I—which aids schools with high percentages of children from low-income families. However, it is still unclear as to how the proposed increase in Title I funding would be used as the skinny budget mentions that the increase in Title I funding would be used to encourage Title I portability, which National PTA would not support.

As PTA advocates, we encourage you and all parents and families to call, meet and email your member of Congress and request them to support robust investments in public education and Statewide Family Engagement Centers and oppose funding for any private school choice or voucher system that would divert funding from public schools.

Joshua Westfall is the Government Affairs Manager at National PTA.

Stakeholder Engagement: Early Challenges and Promising Practices

This post was originally published on the blog for the Learning First Alliance.

With the transition to a new presidential administration, change abounds in the federal education policy world. As we await action from a new Secretary of Education, we’ve also seen President Trump issue an executive order pausing the accountability regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), followed by a move by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn them. Those rules, finalized last November by the Obama administration, were intended to guide states in submitting their accountability plans to the federal government.

Despite the uncertainty that states are facing, work on these plans continues. And a key part of that work comes in the form of stakeholder engagement.

The stakeholder consultative process outlined in ESSA (and unimpacted by the president’s executive order) presents an important opportunity to fundamentally change how education policy is made. If implemented as intended, it will ensure that the expertise of the parents, educators and other leaders working with, and on behalf of, students every day informs the development of state and local policies and practices. In support of this process, we at the Learning First Alliance issued guiding principles to help states and districts as they began this important work.

But it is not easy. This level of stakeholder engagement is an entirely new way of doing business for most policymakers, particularly at the state level. And expecting all states and districts to get it right immediately is unrealistic. As with all new programs and policies, there will be a learning curve. What’s critical is that we—the collective “we,” including those in the education community that this process engages, the state and local policymakers charged with implementing it and the federal policymakers who legislated it—work through the challenges that come along. To avoid going back to business as usual, we need to commit to continuously improving in this endeavor.

The National Association of State Boards of Education recently released a policy update to help in these efforts. Drawn from reviews of 51 state education agency (SEA) websites and in-depth interviews with representatives from 15 SEAs, ESSA Stakeholder Engagement: Early Challenges and Promising Practices identifies five common challenges that states are facing in this work:

  • Identifying diverse stakeholders and casting a wider net
  • Overcoming time and resource constraints
  • Communicating effectively with stakeholders
  • Maximizing meetings’ impact
  • Organizing and incorporating feedback into a state plan

One especially interesting finding: Parents are cited as a particularly difficult group to engage. Noting that SEAs have much more experience reaching out to teachers and administrators, the authors acknowledge that parent and family engagement is new to many state officials.

So how should SEAs and local education agencies (LEAs, which are typically school districts), when they begin this work, address this concern? The brief offers a few promising practices related to the overall challenge of identifying diverse stakeholders and casting a wider net, including utilizing existing networks to expand the pool and allowing for a dynamic process so new stakeholders can be engaged even after the process as begun.

Speaking specifically regarding parents, Laura Bay, president of National PTA, notes that there are multiple aspects of conducting effective parental stakeholder engagement—such as transparency, inclusion, information sharing and multiple opportunities for input—and achieving perfection in all areas is challenging for any one state.

To help overcome it, Bay encourages SEAs and LEAs to partner with their state and local PTAs.

“PTAs want to be a part of the solution. PTAs are a trusted messenger and a valuable resource to be able to reach all families, encourage families to get involved and provide input and ensure all parent voices are heard,” Bay said.

National PTA has identified the following best practices for engaging parents in ESSA:

  • Ensure there is at least one dedicated parent representative on any ESSA state- or local-level committee
  • Partner with PTA to:
    • Disseminate information on ESSA and any meetings, forums or webinars
    • Co-host ESSA-related forums
    • Leverage parent and community leaders to gather input from other parents and families in the community
  • Show how parent input has been considered and/or incorporated in state plans and policies
  • Ask for specific input and feedback on topics and in parent-friendly language
  • Build in structures and opportunities for ongoing engagement and feedback

The association has also created a wide variety of resources accessible at PTA.org/ESSA to support states, districts and schools in engaging families in ESSA.

Recap: Senate Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for Next Secretary of Education

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, an education advocate and philanthropist to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education. Members from both sides of the aisle had the opportunity to ask Ms. DeVos questions about her positions and plans for the Department of Education (the Department) should she be nominated.

In a statement regarding the announcement of the confirmation hearing, Laura Bay, President of National PTA stated that “we respect the confirmation process and pending her confirmation, we stand ready to work with Ms. DeVos to ensure that the priorities of National PTA are included in the new administration’s education agenda.”

National PTA also joined with other leading organizations to express concerns regarding several previous education positions of Ms. DeVos in letters to the committee on Jan. 9 and 13, 2017.

During the hearing, many Democrats expressed concern about Ms. DeVos’ previous advocacy efforts on behalf of private school vouchers in addition to her lack of formal experience in the public education sector. Republicans, on the other hand, largely praised Ms. DeVos’ work and were encouraged by the potential opportunity of having a representative outside of the traditional public education sphere to bring different ideas to the Department.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the HELP Committee is expected to call for a vote on Ms. DeVos’ nomination on Tuesday, Jan. 31. The vote will likely fall along party lines with all Democrats voting against Ms. DeVos’ confirmation and all Republican Senators voting in favor. The vote will ironically coincide a week after National School Choice Week, which now in its seventh year of advocating for education options. National PTA has a longstanding history of opposing any private school choice system—vouchers, tax credits or deductions—that would divert public school resources.

In addition to the diversion of public resources to private schools, National PTA will continue to oppose private school choice systems because many of these programs do not have the same civil rights, protections and services for all students — particularly those with special needs. Furthermore, recent studies confirm that school vouchers do not help students achieve better in school, and in fact, they can lead to lower academic achievement.

Learn more about private school vouchers and follow @NationalPTA on Twitter for federal education updates and advocacy efforts.

Lindsay Kubatzky is the Government Affairs Coordinator for National PTA.