Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations
Association disappointed with inclusion of “parents’ rights” provisions in the bill and urges effective implementation
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Dec. 21, 2023)—Last week, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2024. The NDAA specifies the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense and includes provisions related to service members and their families as well as Department of Defense (DoDEA) schools. With a PTA congress in Europe for the DoDEA schools, National PTA President Yvonne Johnson issued the following statement on the 2024 NDAA:
“National PTA is disappointed with the inclusion of ‘parents’ rights’ provisions in the 2024 NDAA. While it is more important than ever that families are engaged in their children’s education and families and schools work together and develop strong partnerships, we are concerned that the provisions will have unintended consequences for military families and DoDEA schools.
“Specifically, we are concerned for how the provisions might be implemented, including the potential to create confusion for DoDEA teachers and school staff and burdensome opt-in requirements for families; prevent medical and mental health support for students in need; and impact curriculum that is taught and resources that are used and available in DoDEA schools.
“Families are critical to their children’s success and well-being, provide important perspectives on decisions impacting their children and schools, and must be valued and treated as essential partners in their children’s education and development. But it is critical that ‘parents’ rights’ policies support meaningful family engagement and true family-school partnerships and do not cause unintended harm or disproportionately impact or exclude certain students or families.
“For over 126 years, we have seen first-hand at PTA how powerful it is when parents, caregivers, educators, administrators, community leaders and more come together in meaningful ways for our kids. While our association appreciates the spotlight on the issue of family engagement in education, that there is interest from policymakers in working on this issue, and there is consensus that family engagement matters, it remains a top priority of our association to establish supports and services for meaningful family engagement to ensure that all children have the support they need to reach their full potential.
“With the enactment of the 2024 NDAA, PTA is committed and looks forward to working with DoDEA to ensure the ‘parents’ rights’ policies included in the bill are implemented effectively and serve the best interests of military families and their children.”
As part of National PTA’s 2024 Legislative Conference that will take place in the nation’s capital in March, PTA leaders and advocates from across the country will continue advocating for investments in meaningful family engagement and to ensure power is shared—among families, educators, administrators, policymakers—for every child. Register to join us at PTA.org/LegCon.
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. For more information, visit PTA.org.