National PTA is being recognized for its efforts to use the power of the association to shift the narrative around parents’ rights on Capitol Hill towards meaningful family engagement.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents got a front-row seat to their children’s education. PTA saw an opportunity and tapped into its long-standing work to show what meaningful parental involvement in our schools and effective family-school partnerships look like. That included updating the association’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships and accompanying policy recommendations early in 2023.
At the same time, some members of Congress put forth proposals in the name of “parents’ rights” even when those efforts would undermine family-school partnerships. In particular, H.R. 5, Parents Bill of Rights Act, was up for debate and vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. National PTA corresponded with both Republican and Democratic leaders to help develop a federal resolution that offered a positive alternative, using language that has been adopted by PTA membership.
Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in March, H. Res. 219 recognizes the importance of sufficiently supporting public elementary and secondary schools to provide all students with a well-rounded education. Additionally, the resolution promotes the implementation of practices that reduce disparities, eliminate discrimination, and make schools safer, more inclusive, and more supportive for all students. PTA co-authored the congressional resolution and because of PTA’s outreach, hundreds of national organizations have endorsed the Resolution. The list of congressional co-sponsors also continues to grow.
PTA also mobilized hundreds of the association’s members, state PTA leaders, parents, and community leaders to advocate directly to their policymakers through Hill briefings, messaging guidance, action alerts, training, educational communication, and speaking engagements. Ultimately, 7,095 messages were sent to Congress from PTA’s network of parent advocates to urge Congress to shift their focus away from the harmful “parents’ rights” legislation to meaningful collaboration within our K-12 education system.
When H.R. 5 came up for a vote, Democratic members of Congress were grateful to Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01), who championed PTA’s position, for putting forward something they could support, rather than vote against parental engagement overall.
“National PTA is honored to accept ASAE’s annual Power of Associations Award for our work surrounding Parental Involvement in K-12 Education,” said National PTA Executive Director Nathan Monell. “Thanks and congratulations to the government affairs staff, legislative leaders, and PTA advocates who made it possible. Through these efforts, PTA members throughout the country have information and language they can use to advocate for healthy family engagement in their own states and communities.”
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) gives out their Power of Associations Awards in recognition of an association’s ability to use its unique resources to problem-solve, advance professional performance, kick-start innovation, and enhance conditions worldwide. The ASAE will present the award to the National PTA at the annual Summit Awards Dinner on September 28, 2023, at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.