Sunday, September 25, 2011

Michigan PTA Update Has a Good Summary of the Parent Empowerment Education Reform Package

Minute Legislative Update
Michigan PTA
Committee for Children’s Advocacy
September, 2011
PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy association in the United States .  The Mission of the PTA is “To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.” 
As a member, you are called to advocate for the children in our state and nation.  What does it mean to advocate?  Advocacy is speaking up in favor of something.  In PTA, we speak up for the children of our nation.
The historical goals of PTA are:
  • To promote the welfare of the children and youth in home, school, community and place of worship.
  • To raise the standards of home life.
  • To secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.
  • To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children and youth.
  • To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education.
In that spirit, we must let our legislators in Lansing and Washington, D.C. know that we are concerned about the millions of children in our nation who live in poverty – nearly 15 million children in the United States, and nearly one of every four in Michigan.  
Children are the hardest hit during a recession, and this is particularly difficult in Michigan due to our high levels of unemployment.  According to Kids Count (part of Michigan League for Human Services), Michigan ranks 47th in the country in terms of family income security.
You may have heard recently about a package of bills presented in the Michigan Legislature called the Parent Empowerment Education Reform package.  Much of this package of bills addresses changes to charter school legislation. 
It is important for you to be informed on issues that affect public education.  Quality education is of utmost importance to our members.  Following is the language of the Charter School Resolution passed by members of the Michigan PTA.  This resolution addresses areas of concern to our membership:
Be it resolved, that the Michigan PTA supports legislation creating charter schools in Michigan that meets the following specific conditions:
Charter schools must conform with the same mandates and requirements as public schools;
Charter schools must not be operated for a profit; not affiliated with non-public, sectarian religious or home­based school (Public funds must not be used for private schools - Michigan PTA continuing position);
Charter schools must be open to all students regardless of sex, race, religion, ancestry, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability;
Charter schools must not charge tuition or fees which might preclude attendance and full participation by economically disadvantaged students;
Charter schools must not have any negative impact on currently existing schools;
Charter schools must be funded by new monies made available by the state. The state must continue to improve funding for existing elementary and secondary schools;
Charter schools must be subject to federal and state law which deal with health and safety, prohibit discrimination and must be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act;  
A charter school charter may only be granted by a local board of education or an intermediate school district and must be accountable to the authorizing board of education. The board authorizing the charter must be responsible for all the schools it charters;
Charter school teachers must be certified in order to insure the highest standards of teaching;
Charter schools must actively advertise the opening of the school for 2 months before enrollments are accepted, using radio, television, newspaper ads, and mailings to households with potential students within a 2 mile radius of the school building.
Use your voice to speak up for the programs that help to improve the health and welfare of our children. 
You can read more about child poverty and its effects at Michigan ’s Children: , Kids Count Michigan : , and at the National Center for Children in Poverty:
You can find contact information:
State representative at: 
State senator at: U.S. Senators and Congressperson at:

Michigan Parent Teacher Association 
1390 Eisenhower Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
Phone: 734-975-9500 - Fax: 734-677-2407
Web site:

Linked Documents: