2014-2016 Public Policy Agenda
PTA is the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association in the United States. Founded in 1897, National PTA has a long, successful history of influencing federal policy to promote the education, health, and well-being of all children. Since 1918 Michigan PTA has played a similar role at the state and local levels. Listed below are examples of areas where PTA has been instrumental in introducing change throughout its history.
•Creation of Kindergarten classrooms
•Child labor laws
•Hot and healthy lunch programs
•Juvenile Justice systems
•Arts in Education
Michigan PTA will work with the Governor’s office, the Legislature, the Michigan Department of Education, and other organizations and associations to move forward policies, initiatives, and laws that ensure all children reach their highest potential and each family has the opportunity to be productive and successful. We will work with National PTA to advocate for issues of National scope that impact children and families. Michigan PTA will continue to inform our membership and the public at large about emerging legislative issues and encourage advocacy in these areas.
A strong and vital public education system is essential to Michigan’s success as our state moves into the future. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that a quality public education is made available to all children. Michigan PTA places the highest priority on supporting laws and policies that ensure a free, high quality system that provides equal access to all children. This system should be transparent and accountable, allowing parents and families to make comprehensive and educated choices for their children.
Reauthorization and improvement of ESEA-NCLB remains a priority for both Michigan PTA and National PTA. Access to well-rounded curricula, equity protections for disadvantaged populations, and accountability to parents and the community are among the enhancements supported by PTA.
Within our general education priorities, we place an emphasis on:
•College and Career Readiness
•Early Childhood Education
School safety is a crucial component of effective learning. Michigan PTA believes that the safety of children and faculty in all school settings is a fundamental right and has made it the utmost priority for our programmatic and advocacy work. Michigan PTA will work to support federal, state and local programming and policies related to safe routes to school, enhanced requirements for teen drivers, bullying prevention and the protection of children from gun violence.
Family Engagement in Education
Michigan PTA endorses the Family Engagement in Education Act of 2013 (H.R.2662/S.1291), which supports effective family engagement strategies where they are needed most while encouraging state and local district flexibility in identifying programming that works best. In addition to full passage of the bill, Michigan PTA will work with National PTA to help ensure that provisions are included in the reauthorization of ESEA-NCLB.
Michigan PTA believes implementation of PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships enhances student success and builds a strong school community. We support full integration of these Standards in Michigan’s education policy
Child Health & Nutrition
PTA strongly supports continued implementation of the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, including healthy guidelines for all foods sold in schools, strengthening Local Wellness Policies and improving nutrition standards for meals served as part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.
As part of our overall Health & Nutrition priorities, Michigan PTA supports and will advocate for
•responsible measures to eliminate fraud without denying access to nutrition related services for families with minor children,
•implementation of programs that provide access to healthcare to all children, and
•expansion of mental health services for children and youth.
Protecting the rights of children and youth involved in the justice system continues to be an area of focus for PTA. Michigan PTA supports reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act with improved provisions that keep youth who commit non-criminal offenses out of secure juvenile corrections facilities and ensures core protections are extended to all children under 18 years of age.
Michigan PTA supports elimination of zero tolerance policies that disproportionately target minorities and result in the creation of a school to prison pipeline. We further believe that expulsion guidelines should be in alignment with the Federal Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990.