Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 National PTA Legislative Conference

The 2014 National PTA Legislative Conference will be held March 11-13, 2014 in the Washington, DC area. Registration opens January 2014

Join fellow PTA advocates for this exciting three-day event that provides in-depth discussion about PTA’s public policy priorities through interactive workshops, keynote speakers, advocacy trainings and more. Attendees also will visit Capitol Hill—where they put their skills and expertise to use through meetings with their Members of Congress.  

View Workshops for Legislative Conference - Workshop titles and descriptions for the annual Legislative Conference are now available online

Friday, December 20, 2013

PTA and student privacy

A recent on-line article by KUOW interviewed me on the topic of student privacy in light of the Seattle Times being granted access to student records in partnership with the State.  I wanted to elaborate on the Washington State PTA’s views, and our National PTA’s views, on student privacy.

Parents assume that confidential information about their children is going to be kept confidential.  One of the challenges that parents have in our state, however, is that Washington defines public disclosure very broadly.  This can be a good thing and it can also be a bad thing depending on what information is released and how it is used.  In this specific instance, the State Department of Education willingly shared information with the Seattle Times as part of their research studies program called “Education Lab.” 

It has been determined that the information was released without a public disclosure request and the request was granted for the purpose of research.  This recent action highlights the challenges that our legislators face in upholding the ability of public or private entities access to information and the need to protect our children from unwanted exposure.  Our National organization has printed a white sheet on student privacy and I have included the link below.  Our legislative team will be discussing this issue and pursuing a course of action over the next few weeks leading up to the legislative session. 

Heather Gillette
President, Washington State PTA

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What Every Parent Should Be Asking about Data Privacy

Asking the questions on the previous page, families are more ready than ever to use education data to help their kids. However, along with the great benefits of education data come school, district, and state responsibilities to keep your child’s data private. Empowered parents can ensure that their child’s data are being protected by demanding answers to the following questions:

1. How is my child’s privacy being protected?

Monday, December 16, 2013

What Every Parent Should Be Asking about Education Data

Schools and districts collect a lot of information about students. Empowered parents should demand to get value out of these data. Here are questions you can ask of your school officials to ensure that your child is on track to graduate college and career ready:

1. I already have my child’s grades and test scores, so what more do I need?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Federal Budget Update

Federal Budget Progress: Last night (Thursday, December 12, 2013), the House passed the Bipartisan Budget Act by a vote of 332-94. This was legislation based on the budget deal announced earlier this week. The next step is for the Senate to vote on the bill. The bill provides sequester relief and continues to forward fund education.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sequester Update

The National PTA Government Affairs team has prepared an action alert asking Congress to replace the harmful sequester cuts with a balanced, fair approach. Take action today to make your voice heard! NDD United has released a report on the effects of the sequester. Visit for more information on the sequester!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Save the Date for PTA's Take Your Family to School Week

The National PTA Take Your Family to School Week Grant recipients have been selected! Congratulations to Mt. Pilchuck PTA in Lake Steven for receiving a grant.
National PTA's Take Your Family to School Week is a program encouraging strong family engagement and the importance of partnerships among parents, teachers, and school administrators. For the 2013-2014 academic school year, Take Your Family to School Week will incorporate the theme, Supporting Student Success, which will address the risks associated with a huge problem for our nation's youth: dropping out of high school.
National PTA’s digital toolkit—promotional and template resources to help plan your Take Your Family to School Week, Feb.17-21, 2014—will be available in early December. Register today for one of the toolkit demonstrations:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nominate an Outstanding PTA Advocate - 2014 Advocacy Award from National PTA

Know of an outstanding youth or other PTA advocate—or a local/state PTA—that has done great advocacy work? Nominate them to receive a 2014 Advocacy Award from National PTA. Winners will be announced in January and will be honored at the 2014 Legislative Conference in Washington DC. This year, advocates may nominate themselves in the youth and individual groups, and the winners in these categories will serve as advocacy ambassadors for PTA. Nominations are due on Dec. 19. For more info visit