Advocacy and Legislation

PTA is a child advocacy association.  Its legislative mission is to speak on behalf of all children and youth at the local, state and federal levels.  One of the Purposes of PTA is “to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.”  PTA promotes and encourages legislative advocacy for the education and welfare of all children and youth.

Role of PTA in Legislation.  As local officers of the largest grassroots child advocacy organization in the state, PTA legislative advocacy chairmen are responsible for demonstrating leadership on children’s issues at the local level by educating PTA members, community members and elected officials about PTA’s issues of concern and legislative priorities and goals.  No amount of fundraising can have as much impact as a single piece of legislation.

The positions we take.  The California State PTA takes positions on issues/legislation based on position statements in the California State PTA Toolkit, California State PTA convention resolutions, California State PTA Legislation Platform and National PTA positions and convention resolutions.  The unit, council or district legislative chairman provides PTA members with information about PTA positions on current legislation and issues.  Fourth District PTA has developed a Legislative Agenda to help us focus on those matters most important to PTAs the greater Orange County area:  http://www.fourthdistrictpta.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Legislative-Agenda.pdf

CURRENT ISSUES:

Governor signs bill to create better school accountability system

SB 1458 (Steinberg) supported by California State PTA

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Brown signed into law SB 1458 (Steinberg), which will usher in a better system of school accountability reporting for parents and the public. 

The California State PTA strongly supported this bill.

“We applaud the efforts of Senator Steinberg, the Governor and all those who worked on this significant bill,” said California State PTA President Carol Kocivar.  “The new law will maximize the accuracy and relevancy of the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) for measuring how well schools are performing – and it will provide more essential information to all parents.”

For many years, California State PTA has advocated for the development of a comprehensive student assessment system that equitably measures individual student achievement and the breadth and depth of the instructional program and goes beyond the current scope of the API, which was established in 1999.

“SB 1458 is a giant step forward toward that objective,” Kocivar said. California State PTA looks forward to the next step in updating our accountability system by working with the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education in developing the regulations to implement SB 1458.

What Will SB 1458 Do?

SB 1458 establishes a more realistic and accurate state Academic Performance Index (API) that includes pupil test scores, but also allows for the inclusion of other measures, such as promotion and graduation rates and student readiness for college and careers. It will also lead to recommendations for how the API can emphasize instruction and student achievement in science and social studies, another concept PTA strongly supports.

In addition, SB 1458 provides for the development of a program of school quality review in which panels of parents and other stakeholders will visit schools, observe classes, interview students and look at student work.

SB 1458 also calls for annual transparent and understandable explanations from the Superintendent of Public Instruction about what the API includes and how each API component is valued, which will provide parents and the public a far better system of measuring and understanding how well California schools are serving children.

Under the new law, the SPI and the State Board of Education are charged with developing and adopting the regulations to implement SB 1458.

As Senator Steinberg stated in developing the bill, “It is time for the API to evolve into a less punitive, more constructive representation of school performance, and to encompass a more comprehensive set of expectations and aspirations for school performance, such as graduation and/or dropout rates, and, as appropriate, measures of pupil preparedness for college and career.”

New California laws for 2013 affecting youth:

  • Digital textbooks:  SB 1052 and 1053 set the stage for producing digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken lower-division courses at California colleges and universities, and creates an open-source library to house such materials. (Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento)
  • Immunization information:  AB 2109, starting in 2014, requires parents to receive information from a health care provider before exempting their child from immunizations. (Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento)
  • Religious grooming:  AB 1964 bans discrimination based on religious dress or grooming, such as Sikhs’ turbans. (Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis)
  • Sexual orientation therapy:  SB 1172 prohibits therapy on homosexual or other minors that attempts to alter their sexual orientation. Legal challenges are pending. (Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance)
  • Hands-free texting:  AB 1536 allows drivers to dictate, send or listen to text messages with a hands-free device. (Former Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona)
  • Social media privacy:  SB 1349 bans public and private universities from requiring students to disclose user names or passwords for social media, such as Facebook. (Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco)
  • Employer prohibitions:  AB 1844 prohibits employers from demanding a worker’s or an applicant’s user name or password for social media. (Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose)
  • Internet bullying:  AB 1732 specifies that forms of illegal Internet bullying include false profiles, impersonations and “burn pages” created to house abusive posts. (Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose)
  • Child abuse reporting:   AB 1435 adds athletic coaches, athletic administrators, and athletic directors employed by any public or private school that provides any combination of instruction for kindergarten, or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to the list of individuals who are mandated reporters. (Dickinson)
  • Student fees:  AB 1575 (Lara) prohibits public school pupils from being required to pay fees to participate in school activities.  It does not prohibit solicitation of voluntary donations, voluntary participation in fundraising activities, or providing pupils prizes or other recognition for voluntarily participating in fundraising activities, and permits certain charges otherwise allowed by law.
  • Same-day registration:  AB 1436 allows qualified residents to register to vote up to and on Election Day, but would not take effect until 2014 at the earliest. (former Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles)
  • Good Samaritan:  AB 472 bars a person from being arrested on drug use or possession charges after summoning medical help for an overdose involving anyone. (Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco)
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