ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Dec. 18, 2015) — Today, Congress passed a spending bill that funds federal programs and services for Fiscal Year 2016. The bill increases funding for education by $1.2 billion and includes key investments in early learning, special education, school safety and other programs aimed at creating opportunities for every child. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law early next week.
“Federal investment in education is critical to children’s and the nation’s long-term success,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA applauds the leadership and bipartisan work of Congress to make investments that will help every child reach his or her full potential and improve our nation’s economic competitiveness.”
National PTA commends Congress for prioritizing federal investment in the following programs:
- Title I, which provides assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families and includes some funds for family engagement efforts
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which provides grants to states to support students with special needs
- Head Start, which provides comprehensive early childhood education and health services to low-income families
National PTA is also pleased that the bill increases funding for arts in education programs, as well as the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program that supports state and local efforts to ensure all children have a safe and healthy environment in which to thrive and learn.
However, National PTA is disappointed the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program was not funded in the bill. This program is included in the Every Student Succeeds Act—the new law governing the federal role in K-12 education. It would provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies and initiatives.
“Engaging families in all aspects of a child’s educational continuum is essential to their learning and development,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA remains committed to working to ensure the president’s 2017 budget proposal funds Statewide Family Engagement Centers and Congress adequately invests in the program to give families the tools and resources to support their children’s achievement.”
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.