MEMPHIS, TENN. (June 15, 2010) – This past weekend (June 11-13), thousands of parents, educators, students and other child advocates gathered for the association’s biggest meeting of the year—the 114th Annual National PTA Convention and Exhibition.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan keynoted the event, along with Coach Tony Dungy and wife Lauren. Tichina Arnold, actress, mom and National PTA Advisory Board Member; Vicki Phillips, director of education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Sarah Brown Wessling; 2010 National Teacher of the Year were also featured speakers among others.
PARENTS VOTE ON HOT TOPICS AFFECTING CHILDREN
During the convention, PTA members held debate and voted on the adoption of five national resolutions: Social Host Accountability for Underage Drinking; Teen Driving Safety; Dangers of Novelty Lighters; Educational Opportunity for Military Children and Mentoring of Youth in Quality Programs. The resolutions are proposed by PTA members and approved by the National PTA Board of Directors to be voted on by convention delegates. National PTA has adopted hundreds of resolutions on a wide variety of education, health, and safety issues since its first convention in 1897. Summaries of the resolutions are below. They will be posted in their entirety at www.pta.org within the next couple weeks.
Social Host Accountability for Underage Drinking –PTA will work to inform students, parents, and community members on the detrimental effects and significant dangers of underage drinking and social hosting. PTA will also support legislation to adopt social host laws that would prohibit adults from providing alcohol or allowing the consumption of alcohol in homes or on noncommercial property by youth under the age of 21 who are not their children.
Teen Driving Safety –PTA will work to promote educating parents, students, school personnel and communities regarding the risks associated with teen driving, the legal requirements of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, and the crucial role of parents in helping teens become safe drivers. PTA will also urge local, state and national leaders to support research and adopt policies and legislation to reduce traffic incidents involving teen drivers and their passengers. Finally, PTA will encourage the development of consistent, quality standards for driver education and training programs and support policies and legislation to make such programs accessible to all students.
Dangers of Novelty Lighters –PTA will work to promote education on the threat to public safety from youth fire setters and novelty lighters, as well as support legislative and regulatory action banning or restricting the sale of novelty lighters.
Educational Opportunity for Military Children – PTA will work to promote the adoption and utilization of the purposes of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children by state and local education agencies. PTA will also advocate for the adoption of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children with all financial and structural requirements by each state and territory legislature of the United States.
Mentoring of Youth in Quality Programs – PTA will work to promote the need for youth mentors and encourage the use of recognized quality program standards by youth mentoring programs. PTA will also advocate for legislation and other initiatives that provide youth mentoring programs with access to consistent, timely and affordable state and federal nationwide criminal history background screening of mentors, as well as advocate for legislation and initiatives that help fund quality youth mentoring programs.
National PTA kicked off the convention by announcing an unprecedented partnership with social networking giant Facebook. The formal collaboration will work to promote responsible and safe Internet use to kids, parents and teachers. National PTA and Facebook will establish a comprehensive program that will provide information, support and news to encourage citizenship online, reduce cyberbullying and advance Internet safety and security. National PTA will use its Website (www.pta.org), and actively reach out to the 24,000 local PTAs across the country with a goal of reaching every American public school. Facebook will raise awareness of the resources among the hundreds of millions of parents, teachers and children using its service through an in-kind Facebook commitment equivalent to $1 million and promotion on other parts of the site, including the safety center. For more information, visit: http://www.facebook.com/education?v=app_7146470109.
NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY FOR FAMILY ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION BILL
On Friday, June 11, the association hosted a CALL-IN DAY in support of H.R. 5211, the Family Engagement in Education Act. During the convention, and through an email action alert to members, the association asked attendees and members to urge their Representative to cosponsor the bipartisan legislation that would improve the lives of millions of children and families. The bill would strengthen parent engagement in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which Congressional leaders have stated they want to reauthorize this year. Visit the PTA Takes Action Center for more information.
40-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF MERGER
Forty years ago this month, the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT) and the National Congress of Mothers united to form the National PTA, adapting the same mission they had operated under separately - to improve the education and well being of every child. National PTA celebrated this milestone by announcing a new award named after Selena Sloan Butler, founder of the NCCPT and presenting the award to Narvie Harris, former Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers President. Harris advocated for children for decades and was a friend and confidant of Sloan Butler. She also attended the unification ceremony of the National Congresses. Harris passed in November 2009. Her daughter Daryll and family accepted the award on her behalf.
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 parent involvement 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.