Championing Arts in Education for More Than 40 Years

National PTA recently announced the 2010-2011 Reflections award recipients. The announcement made me look back at our history with and the importance of arts in education. It’s no secret, arts programs and classes are often the first to be cut from the school day when education budget cuts hit.

This is so unfortunate because studies continue to show that when children express themselves through the arts, they are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, more likely to participate in a math or science fair, and are more likely to be elected to a school office. National PTA and its local PTAs nationwide know these facts.

We believe in the importance of arts in education. We believe that children should not be denied an outlet for their artistic expression because of budget cuts. That’s why for more than 40 years we have sustained our very own Reflections arts program. Thousands of PTAs across the country have made it possible for students to be involved in the arts, when they may not have had the opportunity otherwise.

We’re proud of the millions of students that have participated in this amazing program throughout the last four decades. This year PTAs at all levels have seen, first hand, the true talent our students have from pre-k through the 12th grade. Either in visual arts, literature, photography, music composition, film production or dance choreography our students have an untapped talent that so many of us would be amazed to see.

For example, I was in Arkansas recently for the Arkansas PTA convention. I took part in their awards program in which more than 400 students and parents attended… and that’s just one state! It’s inspiring to see that we’re all working together to continue to champion arts in education.

Visit the National PTA newsroom (onevoice.pta.org) for the announcement of the 2011 national winners and visit the general website for more information on how your PTA can participate in next school year’s Reflections program.

Finally, please join me in celebrating the best and the brightest our PTA schools have to offer when it comes to arts education!

What Do You Consider As Justice?

What Do You Consider As Justice?

Recently a local prosecutor in Detroit Michigan made news by proposing a law that would have legal repercussions for parents who do not take part in such activities as parent teacher conferences. Now, I’ll admit that her proposal would probably be for those parents who are the worst offenders, but really? In California, a state Senate bill has recently passed a committee vote that lays out a series of punishments for the same lack of action by parents, in simple terms, not attending parent teacher conference and/or allowing their students to go un-supervised.

These two suggested pieces of legislation has our media outlets buzzing and educational leaders wondering where did this all came from? And the question is valid, where is this coming from?

PTA has long been an advocate for parent engagement. Parents, grand-parents, adult care givers should all be active participants in a child’s educational experience. These political recommendations should give us a great opportunity to both discuss options for getting adults engaged and why some elected officials find it necessary to impose legislation for parent involvement with a hammer versus identify more positive solutions.

One example of a positive plan for parent engagement is the Parent Engagement in Education Act, HR5211. This legislation helps schools and school districts develop best practices for parent engagement, it’s that simple!

When I was in school, Dad worked and Mom volunteered at my school. Today, both parents work and in many cases more than one job each. Many parents don’t have the time today that they had in years past, so PTA must work harder and longer to help encourage any caring adult to spend time in their local school.

Although I do not agree with negatitive legislation that seems to force a parent’s involvement, the concern is real. PTA must work to see that our parents, elected officials and the public in general understand that there are more positive solutions to addressing these concerns.

For more parental involvement tips and helpful guides, please visit http://www.pta.org/topic_parent_involvement.asp