Legislative Priorities for 2013
As the largest and oldest volunteer child advocacy association in the state, Connecticut Parent Teacher Student Association (CT PTSA) provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child and the best tools to help their children be safe, healthy, and successful in school and in life.
Connecticut PTSA recognizes the fiscal challenges that are facing the state of Connecticut. We feel that the issues we are concentrating on have either no cost, minimal cost or in the long run will cost the state less than not doing it.
Connecticut PTSA encourages the Legislature to adopt statewide legislation allowing for municipalities to create nonpartisan Boards of Education.
Rationale: Connecticut is one of the few states in the nation that still has partisan boards of education. The focus of the members of the Board of Education must be on improving educational quality and facilities for all children. Partisan members may not act in the best interest of education for all children in their decision-making processes. Party affiliated Boards of Education members have and could continue to make their decisions based in a political party caucus. We believe that they must be able to think first of the child and not the political party philosophy. Additionally, the listing of candidates for Board of Education members by party on the ballot can and sometimes does result in a candidate being elected because of their party affiliation rather than their qualifications.
Connecticut PTSA encourages the State Legislature and the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission to adopt a multifaceted approach to gun violence prevention with a specific emphasis on keeping our schools gun free.
Rationale: CT PTSA believes that in order to achieve an effective school climate, schools must be completely gun-free. Parents, educators, community members and government must prioritize this issue to ensure a safe learning environment for all students.
Connecticut PTSA supports legislation and action by the State Board of Education that encourages and sets basic standards of a healthy and respectful school climate allowing students to be free of bullying and harassment and recognizing that student discipline should use proven approaches of positive and preventative classroom management.
Rationale: All students should feel physically and emotionally safe at school. Safety at school requires not just protection from bullying and harassment by other students but also appropriate and consistent discipline practices that are proven at addressing the underlying reasons of behavioral issues, reducing disciplinary incidents, enhancing bonds between teachers and students and improving perceptions of safety and moral. A respectful and positive school climate encourages positive behavior and supports student success.
Connecticut PTSA urges the State Department of Education to support professional development for all teachers and other certified personnel in the areas of parent involvement/family and community engagement. Connecticut PTSA further urges the State Legislature to require the Higher Education Commission to include parent involvement /family and community engagement course(s) in their education certification programs for teachers, administrators and superintendents.
Rationale: Thirty years of research clearly shows that parent involvement/family and community engagement, at all levels of decision making in schools and improves student achievement. To reach their full potential, students need parents/family and the community to take an active role in their education. Schools are working hard to provide a high-quality education for every child but they cannot do it alone. Parent involvement/family and community engagement are critical to creating great schools. Connecticut PTSA feels that for this to be accomplished there must be some training. Teachers, administrators and superintendents historically have not been given the necessary training in parent involvement/family and community engagement.