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National PTA Commends Senate Passage of Every Child Achieves Act

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Heidi May Wilson, Media Relations Manager

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 16, 2015) This afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act, a bill that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB). ESEA/NCLB is the primary law governing the federal role in K-12 education.

“Since 2007, National PTA has called for comprehensive reauthorization of the ESEA/NCLB to ensure the law provides educational equity for all children and prepares every child for long-term success. The association has also consistently advocated for enhancements to the law that prioritize family engagement, which is at the core of student achievement and school improvement,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA applauds the Senate and the leadership of Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for passing the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act and strengthening family engagement provisions in the bill. This is a significant step forward for the reauthorization of the ESEA/NCLB and for students, families and schools.”  

The Every Child Achieves Act contains several laudable family engagement provisions, including an amendment by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jack Reed (D-RI) that reauthorizes the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRC) program as Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC). The centers would provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies, programs and activities that are proven to make a difference for students and schools.

“Kids are more likely to succeed in school when their parents and families are engaged,” Senator Bennet said. “This bill takes steps to help schools work with parents to monitor their kids’ progress and ensure they have the tools and resources needed to succeed.”

The legislation also encourages districts to dedicate more than 1% of Title I funding to family engagement efforts as well as ensures that early learning programs prioritize family engagement.

In addition to strengthening family engagement, National PTA is pleased that the Every Child Achieves Act creates a federal Student Privacy Policy Commission to make recommendations to safeguard student data and supports student access to digital learning resources at home to address the “homework gap.” National PTA is also pleased that the bill would not permit Title I dollars to follow a student to another public school or allow federal funds for private school vouchers. The association opposes portability to either a public or private school and believes that it is in direct conflict with the original intent of Title I, which is to provide assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families.

“National PTA is encouraged by the action in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives the past two weeks. The association remains committed to working with Congress to ensure a strong ESEA/NCLB reauthorization bill is signed into law this year that keeps all family engagement provisions intact and supports the achievement of every child,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director.

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.