California State PTA Applauds the Education Package Signed by the Governor on Friday

SACRAMENTO, JULY 12, 2021 – California State PTA has released the following statement in response to the education package signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday, July 9, 2021:

“This education package is great news for students and families in California,” said Carol Green, President of California State PTA. “There is a lot to celebrate in the $123.9 billion PreK-TK–K-12 education package. It includes funding for top PTA priorities including early childhood education, community schools and wrap-around services, universal school nutrition, and mental health services. PTA also supports the return to in-person instruction that includes a robust option for students who may need distance learning for health or other reasons.”

The safe return to in-person instruction is a priority for PTA members, and this budget prioritizes the safe return to in-person learning. As an organization that advocates for all children, including our most vulnerable, PTA wants to ensure that an option for quality distance learning also exists. We are pleased the Independent Study program is vastly improved under this plan and includes some of our recommendations, including standards aligned instruction, synchronous learning, access to college and career readiness courses, and stronger communication with students and families.

“We are also thrilled with the investment in universal transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds by 2025.” Green added. “California State PTA has been advocating for this for years. We know this will go a long way toward closing opportunity and achievement gaps for future generations.”

The trauma of the pandemic highlighted inequities across our society. PTA continues to advocate for all children and families across California, and we are proud to be part of a process to bring a historic budget into reality.

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About California State PTA: California State PTA connects families, schools and communities. We are part of the foundation of our public education system and a trusted messenger to millions of members, parents, families, educators and allied agencies throughout the state. PTA is the nation’s largest volunteer-led child-advocacy association working to drive improvements in the education, health and well-being of all children and families. For more information, visit www.capta.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Robin Klau
Vice President for Communications
communications@capta.org
925.380.1591

Sherry Skelly Griffith
Executive Director
sgriffith@capta.org
916.955.1699

Carol Green Begins Two-Year Term as President of California State PTA

SACRAMENTO, JULY 7, 2021 – Carol Green, a dedicated advocate for all children and families, began her term as California State PTA President on July 1, 2021. Green, a passionate volunteer and advocate for children and families, now leads the largest child advocacy association in California as it strives to improve the health, safety, education and welfare of the state’s nine million children.

Green was elected to the 2021-23 term of office. In her new role, she will serve as chair of the Board of Directors and chief executive officer of the nation’s largest and oldest child advocacy organization connecting families, schools and communities.

A resident of San Diego County and mother of three, Green has volunteered in various PTA roles and in numerous other positions supporting children and education. Her service with PTA has included roles at the local, regional, and state levels, including a local unit president, a council president, a district president, and the Vice President for Communications, the Vice President for Membership Services, and President-Elect.

“I can’t think of anything more important than advocating for the health, safety and education of all of our children,” said Green. “We know that when families and schools work together, all children benefit. After the challenging time we have had over the last 16 months, it is more important than ever that we work together to ensure our children get what they need, including mental health support, educational resources, and a support structure to deal with the trauma, grief and loss they have experienced. We must protect our most precious resource.”

Green’s work with PTA has been focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, advocating for California’s most vulnerable children and promoting family engagement for all communities. During her two-year term as president, she hopes to support and encourage new leaders, expand PTA’s, membership and advocate for every child with the largest most inclusive voice possible.

“Carol brings a wealth of experience to the role of President and CEO of the California State PTA,” said Sherry Griffith, Executive Director of California State PTA. “Her dedication, passion and commitment to the children and families of California will take us to the next level of growth and inclusiveness for the organization. Carol will ensure we support the next generation of PTA leaders and members to build back family engagement during what has been such a challenging time in our public school system.”

Green has a bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism from San Diego State University, and worked as a radio and television journalist for more than 20 years. She is currently a communications consultant and public health advocate working with nonprofit organizations to create policy change.

Green looks forward to leading an outstanding Board of Directors during the 2021–2023 term:

  • Carol Green, President
  • Shereen Walter, President-elect
  • Michael Morgan, Vice President for Leadership Services
  • Jeff Price, Vice President for Membership Services
  • Robin Klau, Vice President for Communications
  • Ellen Torres, Vice President for Convention
  • Derby Pattengill, Vice President for Health & Community Concerns
  • Laura Mudge, Vice President for Education
  • Heather Ippolito, Vice President for Family Engagement
  • Lea Darrah, Director of Legislation
  • Abby Fellman, Secretary
  • Laura Hawk-Loya, Treasurer
  • Brad Waller, Parliamentarian
  • Derick Boerner, Chair of the District Presidents
  • Sherry Skelly Griffith, Executive Director

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About California State PTA: California State PTA connects families, schools and communities. We are part of the foundation of our public-education system and a trusted messenger to millions of members, parents, families, educators and allied agencies throughout the state. PTA is the nation’s largest volunteer-led child-advocacy association working to drive improvements in the education, health and well-being of all children and families. For more information: www.capta.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Sherry Skelly Griffith, Executive Director
sgriffith@capta.org
916-955-1699

Robin Klau, Vice President for Communications
rklau@capta.org
925-380-1591

What’s in the Governor’s Proposed Budget for Children and Families? Here’s a Quick Overview

Governor Newsom’s May 2021 Revise budget, buoyed by an unexpected surge in California’s tax revenues, helps repair the deep budget cuts of the pandemic and allows the state to start to invest more to support children, families and schools.

In just one year, the California budget has moved from a $54 million deficit to a projected $75 billion surplus. When combined with new federal funding under the American Rescue Plan, California has an additional $100 billion in funding surplus.

California State PTA is delighted that the proposed budget invests in long-time PTA priorities, including early education, summer school and after school programs, mental health, nutrition, community schools and targeted support for our most needy students.

We also strongly support many of the investments in families and children outside of the education budget that address poverty, climate change, and health and human services, particularly efforts to reduce child poverty.

Source: https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4432

Education Proposals

  • Early Education: Universal access to transitional kindergarten.
  • Expanded Learning: Year-round access to enrichment activities and before/after-school supplemental education programs for children in low-income communities. Note: additional funding needed to adequately address the needs of all students.
  • Quality Teaching: Funding to retain, recruit, train and support teachers.
    Student Support. Funding for additional teachers, including more school counselors, social workers, and nurses.
  • Nutrition: Increased access to school-wide nutrition programs.
  • Community Schools: Better integrated relationship between schools and health care plans, county health, and social services to provide school-based services to children. Grants for up to 1,400 local educational agencies (more than 60 percent of local educational agencies statewide) to convert school campuses into full-service community schools.
  • Closing the Digital Divide: Greater student access to broadband internet and computer technology, both in the classroom and at home.
  • Special Education: Federal and state funds for special education, particularly to address the impact of the pandemic, dispute resolution and inclusive practices.
  • Distance Learning: Not Properly Addressed

We are deeply concerned that the state has not created a plan for high-quality distance learning. Not only is this important for students and families who can not or do not want to return to in person learning but also for innovative instruction going forward to meet the needs of students who thrive in this environment.

We believe families need quality distance learning options for the coming school year and beyond. The Governor’s current proposal to incorporate distance learning into independent learning fails to provide the on-going quality options students need.

PTA is advocating for a quality distance learning option that is equivalent to in-person learning for any family or student that needs it.

Maintaining a quality distance learning option will serve us as a state in the event of future unanticipated events. We should not waste this opportunity to prepare for the future.

Education Funding

Even with this welcome increase in state revenue, California per pupil funding still remains below the national average when adjusted for regional differences. Funding is estimated to be $13,977 per student in the coming year.

Summary of Major Proposals with Funding Allocations

You can find a quick summary of major state and federal education budget investments here.

Next Steps

Now the Governor’s May Revise will be heard by the budget committees and be voted on by June 15th with a deadline of July 1 to be signed by the Governor.

Resources to Dig Deeper

Governor Announces Budget That Offers Significant Investment in Children and Families

California State PTA is celebrating Governor Newsom’s May revised budget proposal that makes significant investments in California State PTA equity and priority issues, fueled by unexpectedly large tax receipts.

The checklist below gives you a quick summary of major investments:

PTA “WISH LIST” GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET

Universal transitional kindergarten – YES

Community schools – YES

After school and summer programs – YES

Supplemental funding for counselors,
nurses and other student supports – YES

Support programs for teacher/staff
training and retention – YES

Additional support for special education – YES

Additional cost-of-living adjustments – YES

Better funding for student nutrition – YES

More funding for at-risk students – YES

Supplemental funding for foster and
homeless youth – YES

Distance learning options – PTA is looking for more

 

These all are part of a five-year plan to provide greater wrap-around services for students.

The formal budget will be announced Friday. We’ll give you more details after that. But we are so excited about the extra investments in children that we wanted to give you a heads-up.

California State PTA Response to Verdict in Chauvin Trial

SACRAMENTO, April 22, 2021 – California State PTA has released the following statement in response to the recent verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin:

“We are a nation traumatized by racial injustice. The murder verdict in the George Floyd case is one important signal that police who use excessive force and discriminatory practices are not above the law.

Incidents of discriminatory practices and racial injustice happen not only on our public streets but in our public schools.

As PTA parents and caregivers, we must do everything we can to protect our children from harm. California State PTA urges the California legislature and Governor to thoroughly examine the role and training of police on school campuses to ensure that educators, not police, are responsible for school discipline.

The recent tragic events bring to light once again the pain, distrust, and injustice that are the reality for so many children and families. This cannot continue.”

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About California State PTA: California State PTA connects families, schools and communities. We are part of the foundation of our public education system and a trusted messenger to millions of members, parents, families, educators and allied agencies throughout the state. PTA is the nation’s largest volunteer-led child-advocacy association working to drive improvements in the education, health and well-being of all children and families. For more information, visit www.capta.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Heather Ippolito
Vice President for Communications
communications@capta.org

Sherry Griffith
Executive Director
sgriffith@capta.org
916.440.1985

California State PTA Statement Denouncing Violence Against Asian Americans

SACRAMENTO, March 29, 2021 – California State PTA has released the following statement in response to the recent attacks in Atlanta, as well as the ongoing violence towards Asian Americans in California and nationwide.

“California State PTA condemns the Georgia shootings and the recent violence against Asian Americans in our country,” said Celia Jaffe, President of California State PTA. “Our association stands firmly against racism in all forms and denounces all racial violence.”

“It is critical that we rise to correct inequities and injustices. California State PTA and our constituent associations remain committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our association, schools, and communities and to ensuring the safety, well-being and future of every child and family.”

“We can build a better future for all of our children when we unite as a community, intentionally acknowledging how race, culture, and languages spoken are assets in improving the lives of all children and families.”

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About California State PTA: California State PTA connects families, schools and communities. We are part of the foundation of our public education system and a trusted messenger to millions of members, parents, families, educators and allied agencies throughout the state. PTA is the nation’s largest volunteer-led child-advocacy association working to drive improvements in the education, health and well-being of all children and families. For more information, visit www.capta.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Heather Ippolito
Vice President for Communications
communications@capta.org

Ignacio Barragan
Assistant Executive Director
ibarragan@capta.org
916.440.1985

California State PTA Supports Postponing the Administration of the CAASPP Tests

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond
California State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
Email – sbe@cde.ca.gov

RE: Agenda Item 2

Dear Dr. Darling-Hammond and Members of the State Board of Education:

California State PTA supports postponing the administration of the CAASPP tests until the start of the 2021-22 school year. Such a decision would balance our competing concerns by acknowledging the current uncertainties related to school reopening while best serving all of California’s children. In particular, we believe that assessment aligned with content standards provides important information that can be used to identify and address inequities in access to learning opportunities. Such information is of particular importance in the current context.

Our organization agrees with many of the points made by Children Now, EdTrust West and their advocacy partners. Those include the importance of gathering as much information as possible for understanding the toll that distance learning has taken on California’s students. To reiterate from the letter they have submitted:

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting implementation of distance learning has taken a significant toll on California’s students, and we have scant information to understand the impact of these extreme circumstances. Moreover, we know students who were already marginalized before the pandemic have been disproportionately impacted by the negative aspects of distance learning and COVID-19. School and district leaders, students, parents and community members need as much information as possible to better understand these impacts and develop solutions centering the needs of these students. …

“During these times of academic uncertainty, it is even more important that parents have a clear understanding of their children’s academic status based on the state’s standards, especially compared with other students in their school, district, and in the state. Without these assessments, parents may have very little information about what their children’s academic needs are and how to best serve them. Families should also receive test reports with clear guidance about how to interpret and use the results to advocate for their children.”

However, we find the concerns from our state’s educators are also compelling. We share the worry that a statewide test administration this spring – while students’ schooling experiences are so varied between in-person, hybrid and remote instruction – is fraught with issues. Those issues include the likelihood of low participation rates and the challenges of administering the tests in a manner that produces valid results. We also find compelling their concerns that this year has already resulted in too much lost instructional time and testing this spring would just exacerbate that.

Therefore, our organization supports the idea of postponing rather than cancelling the summative assessments. Moving the test administration into the start of the 2021-22 school year would address many of the concerns about test validity and participation without completely abandoning this important measure of student progress..

Indeed, in his foreword to a January 2021 report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Fordham’s president Michael Petrelli validates this idea, saying “States should shift the spring 2021 assessments to fall 2021 when schools reopen. This will allow them to compute those all-important student growth measures for the 2019–21 period, plus establish a baseline for student progress during the 2021–22 school year.”

We understand from the CDE that the summative tests have limitations in terms of their use as diagnostic assessments and that the fall administration of the tests would create logistical challenges for local districts as some students will have changed schools or even districts. We are not oblivious to those challenges, but rather believe that they are outweighed by the benefits to student learning that would result from having a test-based assessment of where all of California’s students stand as “regular school” resumes. The shortened test blueprint helps to make this a reasonable approach while providing much needed clarity regarding students’ progress learning grade level content standards.

As the California Department of Education says in its own current guidance for parents related to the CAASPP tests:

  • Summative assessments are critical, now more than ever, to providing administrators and teachers with high-quality student and school achievement data to track potential learning loss in order to inform teaching and learning.
  • Statewide summative assessments are an essential component of an equitable, valid, and balanced assessment system, especially amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. They help provide actionable data for improvements and targeting supports to students most in need.

We also want to state for the record our support for the State Board’s prior decision to not use the 2021 state assessments for accountability purposes.

Thank you for the opportunity to give our input.

For more information, please contact:
Mary Perry,
California State PTA, Liaison to the State Board of Education
mperry@capta.org

cc: Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Brooks Allen, Executive Director, SBE; Rachael Maves, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, CDE; and Dr. Mao Vang, Director of Assessment Development and Administration Division, CDE.

California State PTA’s Response to Agreement on School Reopening Reached by Legislature and Governor

SACRAMENTO, March 4, 2021 – Celia Jaffe, President of California State PTA, has issued a statement on behalf of California State PTA’s 700,000 members in response to legislation passed today regarding the spring reopening of schools.

“California State PTA is strongly committed to the safe reopening of schools. We appreciate the cooperation between the Governor and Legislature in finalizing a spring agreement to incentivize in-person instruction. Resources for health and safety precautions as well as prioritized funding to address learning loss and the social and emotional needs of students are critical. We continue to urge policymakers, boards of education, and school and district administrators to reach out to and communicate with parents and families as they develop and implement safety and reopening plans. We stand ready to assist as PTA is a partner on schools campuses statewide.”

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About California State PTA: California State PTA connects families, schools and communities. We are part of the foundation of our public-education system and a trusted messenger to millions of members, parents, families, educators and allied agencies throughout the state. PTA is the nation’s largest volunteer-led child-advocacy association working to drive improvements in the education, health and well-being of all children and families. For more information: www.capta.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Heather Ippolito
Vice President for Communications
communications@capta.org

Ignacio Barragan
Assistant Executive Director
ibarragan@capta.org
916.440.1985

10 Things California State PTA Recommends for the Safe Reopening of Schools

California State PTA is writing on behalf of the children and families of California who want to see their children return to school as soon as it is safe to do so. It has been almost a year since California closed its school campuses and our children are falling behind academically and their mental health is suffering. We ask the Legislature and the Governor to work together on a coordinated plan that incorporates our recommendations for a safe reopening.

Ten Recommendations

We urge the Legislature and the Governor to adopt 10 recommendations for the timely and safe reopening of schools.

  1. Coordinate Efforts The Legislature and the Governor must agree on a coordinated approach to reopening schools as quickly as safely possible.
  2. Equitable Sufficient Funding There must be sufficient funding to cover the additional costs related to opening schools in person. And it must be equitable. All students should generate the same base funding grant with an LCFF adjustment that recognizes the impacts of the pandemic on disadvantaged students. Opening schools will require social emotional support for students and staff, and services to meet students’ and families’ needs including safe transportation for students.
  3. Extra Funding for Health-Related Costs Funding to pay for testing, vaccines, contact tracing, and other COVID-related health costs should not be from Proposition 98 funds. Every Proposition 98 dollar spent on non-instructional costs is one less dollar to educate our children.
  4. Protect the Health and Wellbeing of Students, Staff and Families The Governor, the Legislature and local governments must prioritize vaccinations for school staff, early childhood educators and childcare staff, especially those who are already working in-person.
  5. Parent Communication and Input School districts must provide opportunities for robust input and feedback as they prepare and execute reopening plans. They must ensure parents representing the diversity of the community are included in decision-making.
  6. In-Person Attendance Parents and families should be able to choose whether a child returns to school in-person depending on the health of the child and their family situation.
  7. Mental Health Matters Support the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff by providing adequate resources to support their individual needs. To protect student health and well-being, middle schools should not start before 8:00 am and high schools before 8:30 am.
  8. Expanded Learning and Learning Loss Afterschool, summer school and childcare programs need to be available, fully funded and coordinated with the school day. All schools should develop programs to address learning loss and meet the needs of the whole child.
  9. Follow Health Guidelines Schools should not open in person unless it is safe for students and staff. School districts should adhere to the requirements set forth by the California Department of Public Health and county health departments regarding the reopening of schools.
  10. Realistic Timeline Any timeline for the reopening of schools should consider the needs of parents and teachers and respect the most accurate health guidelines. This includes making sure the school facility is safe for re-opening.

Schools need to open as soon as practically possible while protecting the health and well-being of students, staff and families. California’s students are counting on the Legislature and the Governor to come up with a realistic school reopening plan that meets the needs of all our school communities.

This statement was adopted by the Board of Managers on Feb. 20, 2021.

To download a PDF version of this statement, click here.

California Alliance for Arts Education & Create CA Merger Partner Announcement

Exciting news: our partners Create CA and ArtsEd411 are merging! Through the coming months, they will integrate and combine efforts as California’s largest organization working to ensure every student has access to a full and relevant arts education. The statement below was released by Create CA and CAAE on February 11, 2021.

We know that arts education helps students heal from trauma and build resilience. This moment requires us to put student’s mental health and well-being at the forefront. That’s why we are thrilled to see our friends and partners at California Alliance for Arts Education (the Alliance) and Create CA seizing an opportunity to become stronger in the fight for every student’s right to receive an arts education by merging their organizations.

This merger builds on a longstanding partnership and unites them in their shared mission to make sure that a quality arts education is part of every student’s life.

Operating together under the Create CA name, they will combine the power of Create CA’s dynamic communications and innovative data project with the Alliance’s proven policy and advocacy track record and statewide network supporting districts and counties to provide a full arts education to all students. They recognize that students who are low income and of color face the greatest barriers to a full and relevant arts education. Collectively, they will continue to fight for students to get what they need and deserve, because ultimately they know this is an equity issue.

Together, they have the opportunity to reimagine the entire school system – centering student’s social and emotional needs, defeating systemic racism and making sure that arts education is part of every student’s life. By coming together, they’ll go farther faster in insisting that arts education is a student right.

With the stakes higher than ever, we’re so excited about what they will do together.