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National PTA's Legislative Conference Begins

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As parents from across the U.S. meet today to talk about legislative change, their two-day conference in Arlington, VA will be kicked off by a keynote from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

For what it calls "'grasstop" leaders, the PTA will provide an in-depth look at the latest National PTA Public Policy Agenda through a series of workshops, skill-building training sessions, panel discussions, and guest speakers.

Parent leaders will then visit with those on Capitol Hill to advocate for effective family engagement in education, and equity and opportunity in education for all children.

Advocacy awards are presented as part of the conference.

This year, the California PTA will be recognized with the National PTA Outstanding Advocacy Award for playing an integral role in the passage of anti-bullying legislation within the California legislature. California PTA sponsored California Assembly Bill 1156; testified at all committee hearings relevant to the legislation; partnered with legislators to secure key endorsements from statewide education organizations and associations; and issued action alerts to mobilize grassroots advocacy efforts. Ultimately, the bill was passed and signed into law by California's Governor on Oct. 9.

Other award recipients will be:

Amy Zink, a military mom, who wins National Advocate of the Year award for her efforts to establish a comprehensive wellness program for Department of Defense students—the first policy of its kind since DoD schools where created at the end of World War II.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who wins a Congressional Voice for Children Award for being a "steadfast supporter of family engagement, including cosponsoring the 2011 Family Engagement in Education Act in the current session of Congress." Sen.Whitehouse is also a champion of the middle school grades, dating back to his time as Rhode Island's Attorney General.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.), who also wins a Congressional Voice for Children Award for his role in supporting ongoing funding for the Parental Information and Resource Centers. In addition, Rep. Thompson has advocated for Title I formula fairness and college and career-ready initiatives.

For more information about the National PTA Legislative Conference, visit www.pta.org.

Curious about what the 2012 National PTA Federal Public Policy Agenda says? Check it out.

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