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From the VP for Legislation, Elizabeth Leight
One of the Purposes of PTA is “to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth”, and this year the Maryland PTA Legislative Committee reviewed all the education related bills in the Maryland General Assembly. As of April 6, there were up to 2610 bill introductions and only 354 were approved by both houses.
SB 281-- This prohibits carrying or possessing a firearm on public school property with some exceptions.
HB 396-- This prohibits a person from using an interactive computer service to maliciously engage in emotional distress on a minor.
HB 453--This will establish the Maryland Center for School Safety to study the best course to keep our schools safe.
HB 1168--This will help to recruit teachers that mirror our growing diversity in our schools.
HB 1393--Helps to protect student work product and copyright claims.
SB 359-- School vehicle attendant.
SB 548-- Minority teacher recruitment.
SB 143-- Regarding the Public Schools Emergency Management Plans
Federal Legislative Update
From the Federal Legislative Chair, Rick Tyler
Rita Lowman, President, Ray Leone, President-elect, Elizabeth Leight, VP for Legislation & Rick Tyler, Federal Legislative Chair attended the 2013 National PTA Legislative Conference March 12-14, 2013. In addition to workshops, we attended a Town Hall Lunch with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan , a Town Hall School Safety Forum, and an Advocacy Awards Luncheon. We also visited Capitol Hill—where we met with the Education/Children aides for Senator Mikulski & Cardin and Representatives Hoyer, Van Hollen & Cummings. The Sequestrian was our primary issue for discussion.
The U.S. Department of Education and National PTA also held a School Safety Town Hall with U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and National PTA President Betsy Landers. Which was held on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 6:00-7:45 PM - Lock Raven High School, Baltimore County.
National PTA FEATURED ALERT - Support Smart Snacks in School!
Let USDA know that PTA supports strong nutrition standards in schools!
National PTA ALERT - Support Student Access to Mental Health Services http://capwiz.com/npta2/issues/alert/?alertid=62370566
Ask your Members of Congress to Cosponsor the Mental Health in Schools Act
Recent tragedies across the nation have highlighted the need – more than ever – for improved access to mental health services. Despite research showing the importance of school-based mental health services, nearly 70 percent of adolescents living with mental illness do not receive treatment. The American School Counselor Association recommends one school counselor for every 250 students, yet the national average during the 2010-2011 school year was one counselor for every 471 students.
Please urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor the Mental Health in Schools Act, legislation which has been introduced in the last several Congresses.
Sign-up for PTA Takes Action Network to stay informed on the latest happenings on Capitol Hill and to learn more about legislative issues affecting families, schools, and communities.
Sign-up today and join the millions of child advocates that support and speak up for children. CLICK HERE: http://www.pta.org/takesaction
2013 Maryland PTA Testimony
Health Services at Public Schools
Burden of Proof
Maryland PTA Legislative Platform 2012
PTA® Legislative Agenda 2012
The Mission of the PTA is threefold:
National PTA Purposes:
The Agenda’s Objective:
To advocate for parental and community involvement in public schools, and enhancement to education for all children.
The Agenda’s Purpose:
The Legislative Platform establishes the authority, direction and priority for action on public policy. Annual approval of the platform by MD PTA state convention delegates establishes the authority to address issues on behalf of all MD PTA members. All directives are developed from state and National resolutions, position statements, or policy statements.
PTA was founded to provide a means for parents to advocate on behalf of all children. Over the past 100 years, our advocacy efforts have resulted in such programs as school lunches, kindergarten, and school health programs. But there’s more to be done. The Maryland PTA looks forward to addressing our 2011 Legislative Agenda.
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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