WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Reps. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and Kathleen Rice (NY-4) introduced new legislation that would create two committees made up of public school teachers and parents and family members of public school students to advise the U.S. Secretary of Education and report to Congress about a range of issues related to students, teachers and family engagement in education. H.R. 3246, the Teachers and Parents at the Table Act, would establish a Teachers Advisory Committee made up of public school teachers who have demonstrated policy expertise and represent the full diversity of the teaching workforce, with members from multiple geographic, grade level and specialty areas. The Committee would advise the Secretary and report to Congress about their experiences with federal education policies at the local level, as well as a range of other important issues, including testing and assessment policies, the equitable distribution of teachers, the effects of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and other relevant topics. Likewise, the legislation would create a second committee made up of public school parents and family members who have a demonstrated history of parental involvement and family engagement in school and represent multiple geographic areas and a diversity of students, including economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, children with disabilities, English learners, and students who are members of an Indian tribe or tribal organization. Consideration would also be given to representation of students' gender identity, migrant status, and residence in rural areas. The Parents and Family Members Advisory Committee would advise the Secretary and report to Congress on parental involvement and family engagement in education and offer direction for state and local education authorities to improve family engagement.
“Our education system works best when teachers and parents are closely involved with the decisions affecting students,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation simply gives our teachers and parents a direct channel to the Secretary of Education as important decisions are made. A quality education is a great equalizer in our nation, and I will continue to work in Congress to ensure our future generations have the chance to succeed.”
“The federal government has important roles to play when it comes to crafting national education policies, but we only do ourselves a disservice if we fail to draw on the input, advice and expertise of the people who implement and see the effects of those policies every day in classrooms and homes across the country,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “Teachers, parents and family members know better than anyone what our students need to succeed, and creating these committees will give them a seat at the table and give us the benefit of all the knowledge and experience they have to offer. I’m proud to introduce this common-sense legislation, and I look forward to working together to get it passed with the bipartisan support it deserves.”
“When our nation’s outstanding educators are at the policy table, policymakers can make informed decisions that truly improve teaching and learning,” said Katherine Bassett, NNSTOY President and CEO. “NNSTOY is proud to support the Teachers and Parents at the Table Act, a bill that will help policymakers, educators and parents to create the conditions, capacity and culture to ensure all students get an excellent education.”
“Teachers, parents and family members provide critical expertise and perspective on the classroom and their children. It is essential that they have a seat at the table whenever policies and decisions are made that impact students and schools,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA commends Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) for their leadership in introducing the Teachers and Parents at the Table Act and for their commitment to the importance of family and teacher engagement in policymaking to improve education and ensure every child reaches their fullest potential.”
The full text of H.R. 3246 is available here.