Thank You, Congressman Platts!

United States Representative Todd Russell Platts (PA-19) announced last week that he will not seek re-election after six terms in office. Congressman Platts is best known as one of the last Members of Congress who refuses political action committee dollars, instead relying only on personal contributions to fund each of his congressional campaigns. He’s also well-known around the Capitol for his long daily commute to and from York, Pennsylvania – choosing to forgo the convenience of a DC apartment for evenings at home with his wife and two sons. What an incredible example of family engagement!

It comes as no surprise, then, that a steadfast commitment to children is a hallmark of Platts’ Congressional service; particularly, issues of educational equity and children’s health, both PTA priorities. As a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Congressman has been a loyal champion of public education. Platts was the lead Republican sponsor of Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation in 2010 that significantly improved the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, a champion of special education funding, and has consistently bucked his own party in opposition of federal funds for private school scholarships.

During the 111th Congress, Platts teamed up with Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY/04), to secure bipartisan introduction of the Family Engagement in Education Act, serving as the lead Republican cosponsor of PTA’s signature piece of legislation. This Congress, despite a new majority and shifting political dynamic, Representative Platts assumed the lead, reintroducing the bill with Representative McCarthy by his side, in May of 2011. During committee efforts to reauthorize and improve the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind (ESEA-NCLB) Congressman Platts has been a vocal advocate for family engagement, offering  and successfully securing adoption of an amendment to save Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs). Most recently, he worked to ensure inclusion of key family engagement provisions in Chairman Kline’s (R-MN/06) draft reauthorization language.

In recognition of his ongoing commitment to children and families, Representative Platts was honored with the 2011 PTA Congressional Voice for Children Award.Thank You!

At the 2011 PTA Legislative Conference, the Congressman spoke of his family as inspiration for his public service, accepting the award in honor of his mother, who he credits with being an active participant in the education of him and his four siblings.

Our PTA tagline is every child. one voice. Upon learning that Congressman Platts will be taking a bow at the close of 2012 to spend more time with his own children, we wish to sincerely thank you, Congressman Platts, for being a true voice for every child over the course of your 12 years on Capitol Hill.

America’s PTA

For over 113 years the PTA has been working hard to meet the needs of families and communities across the nation. As we move forward, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions. Can we expect our association to reflect America’s families if we don’t look like America? Can we afford to keep moving in the same direction?

When PTA was founded the association was made up of mostly white middle-class to upper-class moms who lived in what we would call a suburban community. Today, according to our surveys, the numbers are about the same. Roughly 90% of our members are female, 80% are white, 70% live in suburban communities and over 50% live in households that make over $75,000 annually. America does not look that way. Now let me say right now that we should always honor our past and the dedicated service of those who built PTA into the powerhouse it is today, but in order to remain a leader in the educational community we must expand our reach.

Did you know that today, less than 10% of PTA’s members are male? Did you know that less than 10% are student members? These two facts, along with expanding our reach to all communities, provide PTA some tremendous opportunities. If you agree that we do have exciting opportunities in these areas, then join us in our effort to make our PTA America’s PTA. If not, then why not? Do you see PTA as a relevant resource? Are you helping? If not, why not? We need to know. My e-mail address is We need your feedback.

Over the next several months you will see PTA expanding our efforts in urban and rural communities. We will be working hard to make sure that all moms, dads, adult role models and communities know the great services PTA can provide. PTA has a rich history of great work; now more than ever, our parents, teachers, students and communities need PTA.

Until next time!