I am excited to serve as one of the official bloggers for the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) annual convention this week! The keynote speaker will be Erin Gruwell – diversity champion, educator & award winning author with the Freedom Writers Foundation. The Special Speaker will be Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, marking our partnership with the NFL and kicking off a health and safety initiative. Join us June 20-23, 2013 at the 117th National PTA Convention and Exhibition at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio where more than 1,000 attendees representing PTA’s nearly 25,000 units will attend to learn, network and become re-energized as volunteer advocates for all children. For the first time at the convention, the National PTA will host a Youth Leadership Summit, interactive leadership and advocacy training that will prepare youth leaders to mobilize their peers around specific issues in their school and community. The Summit includes several workshops, team projects and a breakfast with the National PTA Board of Directors to discuss education issues that are of concern to students. This convention will offer a wide variety of high-quality workshops with valuable information, ideas and resources for PTA members to take back to their schools and communities. You can join in on twitter conversations using #PTA2013. You can also follow NPTA, @NationalPTA and me, @bdrumartin.
At the convention, the office of President will be transitioned from Betsy Landers to Otha Thornton, who will be NPTA’s first African-American male President. However, this is not the first time an African-American male has been at its helm, as Byron V. Garrett was the first who served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2008. Byron was the first male to head the group in over 100 years. He also served with the first male President, Chuck Saylors in 2009. Otha served as a Board of Director and is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel and two of his assignments were with the White House Communications Agency and United States Forces-Iraq in Baghdad. Thornton earned the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009-2010.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently passed the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013, legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), aimed at improving areas of No Child Left Behind. I was honored to attend one of HELP’s prior hearings on ESEA in Washington DC. This is important work impacting thousands of schools across the country. National PTA applauds the inclusion of family engagement provisions in ESEA. The legislation would build local and state capacity for effective family engagement in education by using research-based practices. It also maintains and improves the Parent Information and Resource Centers Program (PIRC) – the sole federal program dedicated to family engagement. As Betsy Landers states, “Parents must be considered valuable stakeholders if we are serious about accomplishing meaningful and sustainable education reform.”
We thank Betsy for her tenure and look forward to the new leadership that will continue taking this great advocacy organization forward!
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.
- National PTA applauds family engagement provisions in ESEA reauthorization; calls for bipartisan approach moving forward (camarillocouncilpta.wordpress.com)
- Safer Schools with ED and PTA (debateandswitch.wordpress.com)
- PTA Advocacy Alert: Tell Congress NO to additional, drastic cuts to education (chsptsa.typepad.com)
- Teacher and Staff Appreciation (debateandswitch.wordpress.com)