Advocacy Newsbriefs – February 2017

Budget Testimony

NYS PTA Executive Director Kyle McCauley Belokopitsky testifies at NYS Legislature’s Joint Budget Hearing on Education; watch here. To read Kyle’s entire testimony, click here. Please share this with your school officials and PTA members as part of your advocacy efforts.


March is Advocacy Month

March is NYS PTA Advocacy Month. We have streamlined advocacy resources to make it simple for all members to Take Action and to share. NYS PTA has provided resources available on the Advocacy Page our website.

Regions, councils and units can utilize the 2016-2017 NYS PTA Advocacy Calendar as a guide to plan advocacy efforts.

March 13, 2017 begins NYS PTA’s first Lobby Week. PTA Region and Local Key Advocacy Partners from across NYS will be heading to the Capitol on March 13, 2017 to advocate on four key issues: Career and Technical Education and Pathways to Success; Restrict and Ban Marketing of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems to Children; Support a 42 Billion Investment in Our Children; Heroin and Prescription Opiates/Opioids.

You can take action on these issues. Visit our Action Center and send a message to Governor Cuomo and your state legislators. It just takes a click and a minute of your time to take action.


Region Advocacy and Events

Yonkers Council of PTAs organized an education rally in Albany on January 31, 2017 seeking changes to the school aid formula. NYS PTA Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsky and staff helped with logistics in Albany. It was a successful event attended by parents, students, community members and both local and state level elected officials. It was truly a team effort! See news coverage here. #YonkersKidsMatter

Westchester-East Putnam Region Advocacy Breakfast, March 4, 2017 – For more information, contact Margaret Mager, Advocacy Chair at magerbxv@gmail.com.

Nassau Region LegCon, March 4, 2017 – For more information, contact registration@nassaupta.org.


Education

February Regents meetings were cancelled due to inclement weather. The March meetings are scheduled for March 13-14. Find out more here.

NY Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia advocates to increase the education budget proposed by Governor Cuomo. Read more here.


Special Education

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued this letter to states to clarify how to implement ESSA. The Department will provide further guidance on the state plan requirements by March 13, 2017.

Impact on school districts if Medicaid changed to block grant: there has also been federal discussion about changing Medicaid to a block grant. Check this report from Childrens Defense Fund and this report from AASA.

A first-of-its-kind study accurately predicts autism in infants. Highlights from the study can be found here.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. All special needs kids want to be like their peers and friends. They want to date but frequently end up in situations that may overwhelm them and put them at risk. Additional information for parents and kids can be found from New York’s #controlisntlove campaign and from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and Department of Developmental Services (MDDS).


Wellness

Summer meals help families and kids. Each summer NYS provides roughly 400,000 free meals daily to children through the USDA Summer Food Service Program. The program will operate this summer from June 12 through September 4, 2017. Find out more from NYSED here and from NYSED’s Child Nutrition Programs here.


Upcoming Awareness Events

February

Heart Month –  heart.org and cdc.gov
National Children’s Dental Health Month
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – youth.gov or ncadv.org
National Cancer Prevention Month
February 26-March 4: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
February 28: Rare Disease Awareness Day

March

Gender Equality Month
Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Nutrition Month
National Development Disabilities Awareness Month
National Hemophilia Awareness Month
National Problem Gambling Awareness Month
March 5-11: Teen Tech Week
March 6-10: National School Breakfast Week
March 10: International Women’s Day
March 8: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
March 13-19: Brain Awareness Week
March 15: Kick Butts Day