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From the VP for Legislation, John Hannay
During the 2014 Session of the Maryland General Assembly, the Legislative Committee of MD PTA met weekly via conference call and tracked legislation related to education, public schools in Maryland, and (more broadly) the health and well being of children, youth, and families. During the Session, the Committee has tracked 85 bills in the House of Delegates and 62 bills in the Maryland Senate (about 5% of all bills). A number of these were cross-filed bills (i.e, duplicates of one another). Of the bills tracked, MD PTA submitted 30 pieces of testimony on the House side, and 19 in the Senate. In four instances, MD PTA gave oral testimony. Additionally, MD PTA has signed on to 4 pieces of testimony submitted by the Maryland Education Coalition.
Of the 28 pieces of legislation (some cross-filed) that MD PTA supported fully or with amendments, 14 (50%!) were eventually adopted into law, one was passed by one house yet not adopted by the other, and one was fully adopted, but vetoed by the governor. One of the bills supported with amendments was adopted with MD PTA’s recommended amendments included. Of the eight bills opposed by MD PTA, none were favorably reported by their respective committees, and none were adopted.
MD PTA had four priorities during the current legislative session. One was support for expansion of pre-kindergarten (pre-K) education in the state. Two relevant bills were adopted and signed into law. The second priority is expansion of free and reduced meals to children and families in need. This was accomplished via increased funding that was proposed in the governor’s budget, and it was eventually adopted. The third priority was to oppose the appropriation of state funds in support of operating costs and capital renovations at non-public schools. The governor’s proposed Capital Improvement Budget (HB 161 and SB 171) and operating budget contained approximately $3.5million in such funds. While significantly reduced at one point in the Senate Budget, these funds were restored in the budget’s final version because of advocacy in the House side Appropriations Committee. MD PTA and MEC plan to re-attack this issue during next year’s session.
MD PTA’s final priority was to oppose legislation that would allow for tax credits up to a certain level for non-public school tuition and expenses, and donations to “student scholarship funds” at any school, including non-public schools. Two proposed bills to do such did receive committee hearings. Yet, none were brought up for Committee votes, indicating that overall support was weak.
MD PTA’s Legislative Committee expresses its appreciation for the support of MD PTA’s Board of Directors for its work, and MD PTA members for being active on these issues when asked to speak out. We are proud of our accomplishments to date. We have many challenging tasks ahead of us, especially given that we will face a new General Assembly next year with many new Delegates and Senators. We look forward to the days ahead.
Attached, you will find several files from the NPTA Public Policy office that provide Election Season Guides on what PTAs can and cannot do as well as resources on how you may be involved.
Please note that the IRS monitors non-profit activities, especially during election seasons. So make sure you review and share these resources before not after they consider taking action.
Below is an excerpt from one of the attached documents as a FYI:
A 501(c)(3) organization may NOT conduct partisan activities to support or oppose any
candidate for public office, including:
• Endorsing a candidate.
• Making a campaign contribution to, or an expenditure for, a candidate.
• Rating candidates on who is most favorable to your issue(s).
• Letting candidates use the organization’s facilities or resources, unless those resources are made
equally available to all candidates at their fair market value.
Much more is attached.
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2014 Maryland PTA Testimony
Support with Amendment
Support with Amendment
Proof - Support
Maryland PTA Legislative Agenda 2015 (Click link to download a copy)
PTA® Legislative Agenda 2015
(Click the picture to download the complete agenda)
This year Maryland PTA celebrates 100 years of advocating for all children. Since our inception, Maryland PTA has dedicated its efforts to bolster our founding principles, family engagement in education from birth through high school graduation; education for every child regardless of socioeconomic background; worked to address childhood health; work against unfair and punitive treatment of education in the justice system and worked to help all children achieve success through quality public education. With nearly 200,000 members, Maryland PTA will continue to protect the education, health, and overall well-being by advocating for educational opportunity and equity for all children.
John Hannay, Maryland PTA Vice President Legislation, VPLegislation@MDPTA.org
Rick Tyler, Maryland PTA Federal Legislative Chair, FedLegislation@MDPTA.org
Maryland PTA Supports National PTA Positions on Federal Issues
Since its inception, National PTA (NPTA) has advocated for improvements to federal education policy for the benefit of every child. NPTA will continue to work with Congress and the Administration on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), improvements to special education through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and quality early childhood education programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Childcare and Development Block Grant. As always, Maryland PTA will join National PTA in advocating for increased federal investment in education, with the goal of ensuring that all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready. Specific issues of focus will be the following.
Title I, Section 1118 requires schools receiving Title I funds to develop and enact parent involvement programs, and requires school systems to monitor those programs.
Parental Involvement and Resource Centers (PIRCs) grants provide training, information and support for both urban and rural low income regions.
Federal education funding must be increased for School Facilities Construction/Modernization and to meet the needs of children being served through PIRCs, Title I, IDEA, Javits, and Teacher Quality Grants.
Truancy/Chronic Absenteeism problems must be addressed through programs such as Head Start, PBIS, school-parent compacts, evidence-based practices, and the elimination of zero-tolerance suspension policies.
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization needs to be modified to keep truants out of secure lockup facilities; to promote effective family-focused, school-based interventions for truancy; to require an annual report on the number of children jailed on status offenses and the length of imprisonment by state; to ensure that underage children are protected pre-trial; and to redefine "adult inmate" so that children convicted in adult court will be sent to juvenile facilities instead of adult prison, without risking federal funding.
Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization must require USDA to update nutritional requirements for school foods; increase reimbursement rates for school lunch programs; require policies for the provision of recess, physical education, and regulation of food marketing in schools to be included in local wellness policies; authorize the use of funding for nonfood purchases such as kitchen equipment; and develop incentives for purchase of local foods and produce when possible.
State Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization must increase SCHIP funding to provide coverage to additional eligible, uninsured children, and strengthen SCHIP by including additional types of coverage, measures to ensure efficacy of the program, and protections for equitable access.
State Focus: Parent/Family/Community Involvement
Initiatives must include accessible, equitable opportunities for meaningful involvement of parents/guardians, business and community stakeholders in development and review of public policies, educational standards, graduation requirements, and environmental and health standards.
Health, Wellness and Safety
Public policy must recognize the essential relationship between health and learning. Health is not just the absence of disease - it is the complete physical, mental and social well-being of children and youth in a safe, healthy and nurturing home, school, and community environment.
• Dropout prevention programs must be instituted to address the diverse needs of students at risk of leaving school without a diploma.
• Truancy programs must be evidence-based interventions which are non-punitive, support effective family counseling, and provide community-based solutions.
• Public education funding must support the funding needs of public schools to initiate or continue to offer high quality educational services to children from early childhood through highschool graduation.
• Public funds must ensure high quality educational services for all special populations (Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional Disabilities, Gifted and Talented, English Language Learners, and other special needs).
• A high quality education supports the whole child, including music, the arts, physical education, as well as the eight (8) federally mandated core subjects.
• State funding must be equitable to address the varied needs of our diverse state, such as GCEI.
• Public funds must not be used to support nonpublic schools or institutions through vouchers, scholarships, or tax credits.
• Public education funding must support the use of technology as a teaching tool as well as provide educational opportunities for students to utilize a broad range of technology to meet future career objectives.
School Construction and Modernization
• Public school construction and modernization funding must address the physical condition of school buildings and the capacity of the building to provide the appropriate space for physical education, technology education, and state-rated class sizes.
• Eliminate the use of portable structures.
• Review and modify state rated capacity formula and teaching stations.
• Opportunities for public input and oversight of construction projects must be available to parent and community stakeholders.
• Teacher education programs, both in-service and pre-service, must include elements of effective parent involvement and cultural proficiency.
• Full funding is needed to ensure that all students benefit from high quality teachers and programs designed to meet Maryland’s high student performance standards.
• Maryland PTA supports programs that prepare professional educators to teach a diverse student population (ethnicity, socio-economic status, English Language Learners (ELL), giftedness and inclusion of students with special needs) in regular classrooms.
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