National School Boards Association (NSBA) President C. Ed Massey attended “PTA Day at the White House” on Aug. 10, which included a briefing on education issues. Massey, who serves as a member of the board of directors of the National PTA, as part of his role with NSBA, gave his reflections on his meeting with key Obama administration staff. His comments are below:
“Several White House officials and officials from the U.S. Department of Education addressed our group, discussing many issues including funding, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and parent engagement. Twelve PTA members were awarded a “Champions for Change” award for innovative ideas that enhanced student support and parent engagement. The White House created the Champions of Change program last year to recognize Americans who do extraordinary work in their communities.
“The message the officials conveyed is that the Obama administration is committed to public education, and parents, teachers and administrators are important to student success.
“Session topics included: cradle to career; parent/family Engagement; Innovation and STEM; college affordability; Let’s Move campaign and student nutrition; fatherhood initiative; teaching and school leadership; and special education. The participants included White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew; Jon Carson, director, White House Office of Public Engagement; Martha Coven, associate director, Office of Management and Budget; and Valerie Jarrett, assistant to the president and senior advisor.
“Each participant was given a copy of the “Obama Administration Record on Education.” The key components of this plan are:
- Reforming Education through Race to the Top grants;
- Enhancing outcomes and results in early learning;
- Investing in Innovation;
- Raising standards and giving states flexibility from the No Child Left Behind law;
- Making STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education a priority;
- Helping students and families pay for college;
- Transforming America’s lowest performing schools.
“As I participated, I was motivated to consider the possibilities in education if we all adopted these concepts. Only together will our country return to the forefront of education.”