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News Briefs

National PTA Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Improve the Nation’s Juvenile Justice System -- A bill to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was introduced in the Senate as a means to improve and strengthen the juvenile justice system in the United States. The JJDPA, which was signed into law in 1974, prevents children and youth from entering the juvenile justice system and protects those currently in the system.

Since the passage of the JJDPA, thousands of children and youth have been provided with family and community-based alternatives to incarceration and kept separate from adults in detention. While the impact of the JJDPA over the last 40 years has been remarkable, improvements need to be made to the nation’s juvenile justice system. Loopholes left in the JJDPA as well as amendments made to the law over the years have weakened its protections and resulted in thousands of children and youth being detained for minor offenses such as skipping school. Additionally, research shows that minority youth are overrepresented in the system.

“Juvenile justice and delinquency prevention is a key public policy priority of National PTA, and the association applauds Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for introducing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2014,” said Otha Thornton, president of National PTA. “Reauthorization of the JJDPA is long overdue, and National PTA urges Congress to prioritize the issue in 2015 and take swift action to improve the juvenile justice system for our nation’s youth.”

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2014 would authorize funding for the law for five years and strengthen protections established in the JJDPA, including phasing out an exception that currently allows for the detainment of youth who have committed minor offenses. The bill also includes:
• Provisions to ensure the continuity of children’s education while detained;
• Direction on how to reduce racial and ethnic disparities among youth in the juvenile justice system; and
• Improved standards for detaining youth to ensure they are kept separate from adults.

Since 1899, National PTA has advocated for policies that protect the rights of children and youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. PTA was one of the first associations to encourage federal and state lawmakers to create a safe and rehabilitative justice system for children by establishing separate court and probation systems from those serving adults. Today, National PTA continues to support programs that work to prevent juvenile delinquency and provide youth currently in the system with services to help them become productive members of society. These programs promote public safety and their success requires adequate federal investment.

As has been a priority for more than one hundred years, National PTA remains deeply committed to working with Congress to advocate for a safe and supportive juvenile justice system that helps every child reach his or her full potential.

Focus Day Registration (December 12, 2014) -- Please Stand Up, Speak Up and Show Up at Focus Day in Olympia on Monday, January 19. Bring your family and neighbors to show your support of our legislative platform with a focus on our number one priority: Funding McCleary. Bring banners and signs for the noon rally on the Capitol steps. Hear what state legislative leaders have to say about our issues and how they plan to deliver on the McCleary promise. Let’s bring our voices together for the children of our state on Monday, January 19. A variety of kids activities are being planned to make Focus Day fun for kids of all ages. Click here to register.

National PTA Pledges Support to White House Invest in US Initiative -- President Barack Obama announced the launch of Invest in US, a national campaign and challenge to business leaders, philanthropists, advocates and public officials to increase investments in high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five. The initiative builds on President Obama’s call in his 2014 State of the Union address to expand access to high-quality early education for all children.

“The education of our nation’s children must begin long before they enter school as research shows that providing effective, targeted supports and interventions to children and parents starting at birth will better prepare them for academic and career success,” said Otha Thornton, president of National PTA. “For decades, National PTA has called for the prioritization of early childhood education, and the association is pleased to support the Invest in US initiative to ensure that every child has access to high-quality early learning programs.”

National PTA joins other nonprofit associations, corporations and foundations in pledging support and commitments to the Invest in US initiative and working collaboratively to make sure more communities have high-quality early childhood programs. Invest in US commitments are intended to:

• Strengthen public systems at the federal, state and local levels to ensure continuous quality improvements in parental education, home visiting, Early Head Start, quality child care, Head Start and preschool programs;
• Integrate health and developmental screenings with early learning to provide parents with the information they need to optimize their child’s physical, emotional and intellectual development;
• Improve the training, continuing education, professional development and living wages of early childhood educators;
• Support greater access to evidence-based programs that support parents and families in fostering their children’s development; and
• Promote and share ongoing program innovation and improvement, especially for those programs supporting parents and informal caregivers.

National PTA has supported early childhood education since its inception. Through advocacy, as well as family and community education, National PTA has established programs and called for legislation that improve access to high-quality early learning for all children.

National PTA believes early childhood programs should be affordable and accessible; developmentally appropriate; coordinated at all levels (federal, state and local); and characterized by high standards for teaching, training, health and safety. The association also encourages the inclusion of a strong family engagement component in all programs.

National PTA is committed to working with the Administration and other nonprofits, corporations and foundations to expand and strengthen programs that further the success of the nation’s earliest learners. For more information about the Invest in US initiative, visit http://investinus.org/get-ready/

FOCUS DAY: STAND UP, SPEAK UP AND SHOW UP -- This year, we are urging members to “Stand up, Speak up, and to Show up” to advance the cause of children and education funding during the Washington State Legislative Session. Led by Region 2 Legislative Chair Jason Rothkowitz, a team of staff members developed a video advancing the cause of advocacy from comments and advice given by outside lecturers to our members. This short, three minute video, is a bi partisan call to action and asks our members to be part of the solution in these troubled times. We urge members to share this video with their friends and colleagues and we urge all PTA members to take the time to “Stand up, Speak up, and to Show up” at our annual Focus Day in Olympia on January 19th and for our Regional Common Core and Legislative Conferences on January 3rd in Auburn and January 10th in Yakima.




Deadline Dates

  • January 3 -- WSPTA Common Core, Top 5, and Local Advocacy Training
  • January 5 -- Region Director Election Self-Declare Deadline
  • January 20 -- Reflections Entries to State PTA Office
  • January 31 -- Common Core State Standards Parent Training Class


  • Upcoming Events

    Focus Day
    Monday, January 19, 2015
    Olympia, WA ...Click here

    WSPTA 102nd Annual Convention -- April 17-19, 2015, Bellevue Hyatt Hotel, Bellevue, WA ...Click here


    Events
    You can learn from experienced leaders at region trainings and leadership conferences, and statewide conventions and workshops. In addition to targeted classes, these events are opportunities for you to network with other PTA leaders from your region or across the state and further develop your own leadership and advocacy skills.    …Details
    Programs
    You can support the youth in your community with programs from the state and National PTA. These include support for the arts, parent engagement, college or career preparation, and more. Better yet, your PTA/PTSA can apply for a grant and design your own.   …Details
    Regions
    Local PTAs enjoy the support of experienced PTA leaders who make up the service delivery teams that organize training in each geographic region. This means you can find support close at hand. Your region director is your point person for training and networking.    …Find your local connection
    Advocacy
    For more than 100 years, PTA has advocated for kids on the local, state and national level. Child labor laws, universal kindergarten, school breakfast and lunch programs, and universal immunization—these are all things we take for granted today but were each hard fought victories for PTA. PTA is committed to supporting legislation that protects children and ensures every child gets a great education. …Learn about our priorities
    Membership
    Members are the lifeblood of PTA. You provide the passion, leadership, and hard work needed to achieve PTA’s vision that every child’s potential becomes a reality. In addition, PTA membership includes access to valuable benefits offered through National PTA.    …All about benefits
    Outreach
    The Outreach Committee’s vision is to see “The diversity that is present in our community reflected in our membership”. We do this by reaching out to those who have differences in age, culture, economic status, educational background, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, legal status, marital status, mental ability, national origin, organizational position, parental status, physical ability, political philosophy, race, religion, sexual orientation, and work experience.    …Learn more about our Outreach
    Resources
    All parents want what is best for their children, and here you can find links to our online parenting magazine, The Child Advocate and a host of parenting resources, from suicide prevention to online learning. You can also find links to Washington State PTA’s Uniform Bylaws and volunteer recognition program.    …Parent Resources
    Leadership Resources
    The Leadership Resources section of our website provides current members and leaders information to help them build a strong local PTA or council and meet their responsibilities to comply with state and Federal laws that govern tax exempt nonprofit corporations.  …Leadership Resources (User Name and Password required)

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