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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

January 25-31 marks National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week.  Alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused drug among youth. PTA has long supported a resolution on Substance and Alcohol abuse awareness and prevention.  The effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain of a child or teen can cause both adverse behavioral/psychological problems and have social consequences.  The first step in preventing abuse is recognizing a problem exists and being knowledgeable of the tools and resources available for both kids and parents.  The National Health Information Center has created a National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week webpage designed with teens in mind.  Parents can find resources at  Want to know the statistics behind underage drinking?  Check out the CDC’s  Fact Sheet – Underage Drinking.

President Signs ESSA

December 10th, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 into law. This landmark legislation—which received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate—reauthorizes the long overdue Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB).

This new law brings needed improvements to K-12 education in the United States, provides greater responsibility to states to meet the needs of all students and acknowledges the essential role of family engagement to student achievement.

For years, PTAs and families have been advocating for a comprehensive, bipartisan reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB that includes robust family engagement provisions. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) contains a Statewide Family Engagement Centers program that will provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies and initiatives. The law also includes improvements to Title I that will require districts to conduct family engagement activities that are proven to make a difference for students and schools. PTA remains committed to working with policymakers to embed evidence-based family engagement policies and practices in all aspects of a child’s educational continuum. 

Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) does not expect major shifts in Missouri’s current education policy as a result of ESSA. “The increased flexibility provides the chance to work together to do what we know works for children in our state,” said Commissioner Margie Vandeven. “Missouri is well-positioned to use the new legislation to improve opportunities for students and teachers.”

The act returns responsibility to the states in holding schools accountable and for helping school districts, educators and students find success in classrooms. ESSA outlines parameters for state accountability systems, but the act gives Missouri the flexibility to design an accountability system that best meets the needs of Missouri students.

The act maintains the current assessment requirements which the state carries out through the Missouri Assessment Program or MAP tests. It also reaffirms that states are in control of academic standards and assessments. ESSA will not affect the state’s review of the Missouri Learning Standards, which is expected to wrap up this spring.

ESSA ends the federal practice of prescribing specific reforms for educator evaluation and support systems. Missouri will move forward with its Missouri Educator Evaluation System. ESSA will allow Missouri to continue to use the Missouri Educator Standards and provide a model educator evaluation system for districts.

The Department states on its website that it will continue updating the public about the law as federal officials create new rules and regulations for implementing ESSA. The rulemaking process will take up to a year once the public starts to give its input.

For more information on Missouri’s Learning Standards, see DESE’s website:

Legislative Focus

Thank you to all who attended this event!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015, our General Meeting will be held in the evening at 6:00pm at Kickapoo High School, 3710 S. Jefferson, in the KHS Library.  Springfield Council of PTAs and Missouri PTA will host a legislative rally with state and federal representatives.  Students of all PTSAs will have a chance to ask questions along with our teachers and parents. Don’t miss your chance to be heard.  Food and childcare will be provided.  We will begin serving food at 5:30pm.

Please use the west entrance (Jefferson Street) at KHS.

This will be a question and answer forum (not a debate).  The following elected officials have been invited to attend and to participate in the panel:

Federal Elected Officials (Sending a representative from their local office)-David Rauch representing Senator Claire McCaskill, Dan Waddlington representing Senator Roy Blunt and Mike Ussery representing Congressman Billy Long.

State Elected Officials (Attending)-Representative Charlie Norr and Representative Kevin Austin.

State Elected Officials (Unable to attend)-Senator Bob Dixon, Senator Jay Wasson, Representatives Lincoln Hough, Sonya Anderson, Lyndall Fraker, Eric Burlison and Elijah Haahr.

US Capital

PTA Takes Action – Summer 2015

US Capital

Even though school is out, it is important to remember that our National PTA is still busy advocating on behalf of children and families in our Nation’s capital.

Here are a few things “we” are working on:

ESEA-NCLB reauthorization.  This bill provides for the funding for title programs in our schools.  It was due for reauthorization and has been in “continuance” since 2007.  This means that funding has remained flat for these programs for 8 years.  The Every Child Achieves Act (s. 1177) is scheduled to be considered on the Senate floor starting July 7.

Education funding cuts.  National PTA opposes bills that propose cuts to education funding.  Congress has cut overall spending by 4% since 2011, however, overall spending on youth programs dropped by 9% during these years.

Juvenile Justice Legislation.  National PTA supports reauthorization of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2007 (s. 1513).

Take Action.  Ask your members of congress to co-sponsor The Family Engagement Act (ask Rep. Long to co-sponsor H.R. 1194 and ask Sen. McCaskill and Sen. Blunt to co-sponsor S. 622) today!  Schools need parents to help close the achievement gap.  National PTA makes it easy for you to reach out to Washington DC via this link:  Take Action on the Family Engagement Act of 2015.

For more information about National PTA advocacy this summer, read and share this Take Action newsletter:  PTA Takes Action – July 1, 2015.