Advocacy in Action—Legislative Update

Every Child Achieves Act

Thank you to those in our membership who took action on the Every Child Achieves Act and the proposed Family Engagement Amendments to that bill. With our combined advocacy efforts, the Every Child Achieves Act (previously known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA/No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)) has passed the Senate.

The Every Child Achieves Act now includes a number of family engagement provisions, including the reauthorization of the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRC) program as Statewide Family Engagement Centers which will provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies. As we know from decades of research, children are more likely to succeed in school when their families are engage in their education.

The legislation also encourages districts to dedicate more than 1% of Title I funding to family engagement efforts and ensures that early learning programs prioritize family engagement. In addition to strengthening family engagement, the Every Child Achieves Act creates a federal Student Privacy Policy Commission to make recommendations to safeguard student data and supports student access to digital learning resources at home to address the “homework gap.” There remains some committee work ahead to consolidate the House and Senate bills before it can become law. We will continue to keep you updated.

Illinois Legislation

On a local level, we are pleased to announce that two bills supported by the Illinois PTA were signed into law by Governor Rauner over the past week.

  • Senate Bill 9 – Powdered Caffeine Control and Education Act, now Public Act 99-0021, prohibits anyone from selling, offering to sell, giving or providing free samples of powdered pure caffeine to anyone under the age of 18 in Illinois in order to protect their health and safety. A single teaspoon of this substance may contain as much caffeine as 25 cups of coffee. As you may be aware from information provided in a recent Illinois PTA Resolution, caffeine can be a dangerous substance; the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the consumption of caffeine and related stimulants by children and adolescents. The Illinois PTA wrote directly to Governor Rauner explaining the basis for our support, and urging him to sign SB 9 into law.
  • House Bill 2657 – Educator Licensure (Vision 20/20), now Public Act 99-0058, will allow Illinois school districts to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and administrators, regardless of the state where individuals received their initial educator license. In addition, this amends the school code to provide that the institute fund may also be used by the State Superintendent of Education to support educator recruitment and retention programs and to provide professional development. This was one of several bills endorsed by Illinois Vision 20/20, of which the Illinois PTA is a supporter.

Thank you for your Advocacy in Action!