Ask the Governor to Support Later School Start Times

California State PTA is co-sponsor of SB 328 which advocates for a later school start time for middle and high schools. Last week it was approved by the state legislature and now it is sitting on the governor’s desk waiting for his signature or his veto.

The bill would update Education Code to mandate a start time of no earlier than 8 a.m. for middle schools and 8:30 a.m. for high schools and would give school district 3 years to implement the change. Why is this an important piece of legislation? Research shows that early school start times are keeping our teens from getting the 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep they need and that a later start time would improve graduation rates, decrease depression and suicide risk in teens, and reduce their risk of being overweight.

PTA is asking you to join us in asking Governor Newsom to sign this bill. Click here to send him an email: http://bit.ly/2kwkULm

Federal Legislative Highlights by Derby Pattengill

NATIONAL PTA

National PTA has taken a positions on a number of bills currently being debated in the 116th Congress. Click here for the complete list. Some notable bills include:

HR5 Equality Act (SUPPORT)
This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

HR 2021 Investing For The People Act of 2019 (SUPPORT)
This bill increases discretionary spending limits, modifies the procedures for enforcing the limits and establishes budget enforcement procedures in the House of Representatives for Fiscal Year 2020. The bill increases both the defense and nondefense discretionary spending limits for FY2020 and FY2021. It also modifies the procedures for enforcing the spending limits to limit adjustments for funding designated for Overseas Contingency Operations/ Global War on Terrorism, allow specified adjustments for Internal Revenue Service enforcement activities and the 2020 Census and modify the sequestration process.

HR8 Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (SUPPORT)
This bill, along with a similar Senate bill (S42), seek to close a loophole in the background check process. This bill has already passed the House.

California State PTA

California State PTA has also taken positions on some federal legislation this term. Click here for the complete list.Some highlights include:

HR 330 The Climate Solutions Act of 2019 (SUPPORT)
This bill encourages strong renewable energy standards by requiring that 100 percent of electricity sold in the United States be generated from renewable sources by 2035. It will also aggressively target greenhouse gases by requiring such emissions to be 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It also creates a national energy efficiency standard. Rep. Lieu has long been active in fighting climate change, having introduced versions of the Climate Solutions Act in both the 114th and 115th Congress.

HR 1395 Youth Mental Health Services Act of 2019 (SUPPORT)
This bill will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve mental health services for students. Specifically, it identifies and disseminates best practices for mental health first aid, assists in the establishment and implementation of emergency planning and establishes or identifies agreements with local agencies to improve coordination of services.

NATIONAL PTA LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE

On March 12-14, 14 PTA leaders from California attended the 2019 National PTA Leg. Con. We had a total of 12 meetings at the capitol, including the offices of both of our senators as well as the Department of Education. It is a great experience advocating in Washington DC. Please consider attending the conference next year. Our asks at the meetings included:

  • Pass the Rebuild America’s Schools Act (HR 865/S.266). These bills seek to include public schools in any infrastructure package. Infrastructure is a bi-partisan issue with it being a priority for both the Speaker of the House as well as the President.
  • Oppose S.634 (Cruz) and similar Congressional bills. This bill provides tax credits for school choice. The Parent Teacher Association advocates for the improvement of public education for all children and to guarantee public funds are not diverted to any private school choice proposal and/or voucher system. PTA also opposes tax credits and deductions for elementary and secondary school tuition and other education-related expenses for public and nonpublic school students.

Our association believes that private school choice systems have detrimental effects on our public school systems. Public dollars must remain invested in public schools for the benefit of all students and the future of our nation.

  • Fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. When Congress originally passed IDEA, they promised to cover 40% of the extra cost of special education. In other words, they would pay for nearly half of the additional cost required to educate students with disabilities (when compared to the cost per student without disabilities). Unfortunately, Congress has never come close to fulfilling that promise. The number of students with disabilities served under IDEA has increased by 25 percent in the past two decades. Yet, the IDEA state grant program is currently only funded at around $13 billion. The federal government is only covering 14.6% of the additional cost.

Support HR. 330(Lieu) The Climate Solutions Act of 2019.  The California State  PTA recently took a support position on this bill that seeks to move toward 100% renewable energy sources and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.

LEARN MORE

Learn more about California State PTA’s advocacy efforts and how we take positions on legislation at www.capta.org/advocacy.

Questions? If you have any federal legislation or federal advocacy questions, please do not hesitate to contact California State PTA Legislative Advocate Derby Pattengill at DP9@CAPTA.org

 

2019 Legislation Conference Recap

2019 has just begun and the California State PTA Legislation Team is gearing up for a busy season. California State PTA hosted its annual Legislation Conference in Sacramento in January. PTA members came from across the state to learn and advocate. After two jam-packed days, attendees left full of new information and feeling empowered.

Attendees got a chance to see the big PTA picture behind the slogan “every child. one voice“. ONE voice for educating our elected officials the value of increasing school funding… ONE voice speaking loud and clear about the data behind later school start movement… ONE voice about mental health and support services. ONE VOICE for all of California’s children.

Panel discussions at the Legislation Conference highlighted how our low per pupil funding puts California at the bottom of the nation in counselors, health professional, school nurses, learning specialists, librarians and administrators to student ratios. This directly impacts our students and their ability to learn and be socially connected.

First time attendees to the conference realized that they are part of a nationwide organization. Federal advocate Derby Pattengill (President of Ninth District PTA, which serves San Diego and Imperial county) addressed school climate and how it impacts not just students, but the school community overall. He spoke about how to identify issues within school communities and once issues are identified, how to go about working on those issues.

Twenty-Third District PTA (Riverside county) brought 12 students to the conference! After the first day of the conference, these students were engaged and definitely empowered for conversations the next day when they met with legislators and their staff in our State Capitol.

The goal of the Legislation Team was to create an atmosphere where both first-time and experienced attendees all learned something new and left empowered, engaged and inspired. If you missed the conference this year, be sure to talk with your PTA / PTSA to include attending in the budget for next year, and don’t forget to include students… they are our future!