ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Feb. 7, 2017)—The following statement can be attributed to National PTA President Laura Bay:
“Today, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Education. Throughout the confirmation process, National PTA joined other education, civil rights, disabilities and community organizations in expressing strong concerns for Secretary DeVos’ lack of experience with public education; unfamiliarity with the challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s public school students, families and educators; and support of programs that divert critical public school resources.
“National PTA looks forward to informing Secretary DeVos on all of our public policy priorities, including equitable public education for all, healthy and safe schools, protections for our nation’s most vulnerable youth and the importance of family engagement in education. Where we are in alignment, we stand ready to work together, however, policies of the administration that attempt to weaken public education will continue to meet National PTA’s opposition.
“National PTA has long stood and advocated for high-quality public education to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Our association remains steadfast in our belief that public education must be strengthened with the support of adequate funding and continue to be governed by public officials. We oppose any private school choice system—vouchers, tax credits or deductions—that would divert public school resources.
“In addition to investing in public education, National PTA urges Secretary DeVos to improve the Department of Education’s role in advancing family engagement as a tool to increase student achievement and transform schools and communities. We strongly encourage the administration to carefully consider how family engagement can be integrated into all appropriate policy initiatives that it advances or supports. In particular, we urge the administration to fund the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program and for the Department to utilize the appropriate resources to assist in the dissemination of research and best practices to support family engagement in local communities.
“Furthermore, National PTA hopes that Secretary DeVos will ensure continued implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We also hope she will continue to prioritize stakeholder engagement in the implementation of the law. It is essential that parents and other stakeholders have a seat at the table as states and districts develop new education plans to provide valuable input and hold them accountable.
“National PTA is committed to working collaboratively with Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education to implement these recommendations and advance policies that ensure all children reach their highest potential. Critical progress has been made to improve education, provide educational equity for all children and make sure every child is prepared for long-term success. We cannot go backward.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA
hmay@PTA.org, (703) 518-1242