Green Hope High School
2500 Carpenter Upchurch Rd, Cary, NC  27519               



September 2017

North Carolina PTA

Advocacy Update



Welcome to the 2017-18 School Year!


The NCPTA Advocacy Committee is already planning our work for the year and determining our advocacy priorities in what is shaping up to be a very busy legislative season. 


The NCPTA Advocacy Committee’s goal is to inform our members, educate our leaders and empower parents and families to advocate for every child in our state.  We do this by:

  • Creating a newsletter and using social media to educate members on current advocacy issues and topics
  • Attending coalition and community meetings to increase the visibility of NCPTA
  • Conducting advocacy training for our members and leaders
  • Attending education committee meetings at the NC Legislature to stay up to date on relevant topics and legislation
  • Creating resolution and position statements to advance our advocacy platform
  • Hosting a Legislative Day in the Spring for our members to visit the NC Legislature
  • Meeting with national, state and local leaders to advance the advocacy platforms of the National PTA and North Carolina PTA

So far this year, our committee has already met with Senator Thom Tillis’ office to advocate for federal education funding, conducted an advocacy training session at the NCPTA Family Engagement Forum with our community partner, Public Schools First NC, and begun the planning process for our Legislative Day.  We also attended Governor Cooper’s Education Cabinet meeting, which you can read about below.


We welcome your comments, questions and input as we work together to advocate with one voice for every child.  Our committee members are located across the state, so please contact us for training opportunities or outreach.  Email us at or go to our website to learn more.

North Carolina Updates


1. K-3 Class Size Mandate:

Since the passage of the bill in spring 2017 to reduce class sizes in elementary schools, principals across the state are considering their options on how to accommodate smaller class sizes in growing school districts. See how some North Carolina school districts are planning to address the new class size requirements:

  • Public School Forum
  • Charlotte- Mecklenburg News
  • New Hanover County News
  • Wake County News
  • Wayne County News

The North Carolina PTA is gathering information, meeting with community groups and speaking with parents about how to best advocate for our schools in the upcoming legislative session regarding the K-3 mandate.  The Advocacy Committee wants to hear from you about how the mandate is affecting your school or school district.  Are you already feeling the effects of the new law this school year?  Is your district planning for 2018-2019 and, if so, what are some of the options you’ve heard about to accommodate the new classrooms?  Please email us at to share your stories. 


Stay tuned for more information and advocacy alerts from our committee on this topic.


2. NC Legislative Update:

Lynn Edmonds of Public Schools First NC and Julie von Haefen, Advocacy Committee Chair, presented an advocacy workshop at the NCPTA Family Engagement Forum on September 16.  Lynn’s 2017 legislative update from PSFNC is posted here and Julie’s presentation on PTA action steps, as well as a list of permitted activities for nonprofit organizations, is posted here.  


3. Raise the Age Coalition:

North Carolina youth and families had a huge victory earlier in 2017 when the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation to “raise the age” of juvenile jurisdiction. Beginning December 1, 2019, the vast majority of 16 and 17 year olds who are charged with misdemeanor or lower-level felony (Class H or I) crimes in North Carolina will be adjudicated in the juvenile system and no longer be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.


The Raise the Age law directs the state Administrative Office of the Courts to set out procedures for local judges—in partnership with law enforcement and school boards—to establish “school justice partnerships.” The goal of these local collaborations will be to decrease in-school arrests, out-of school suspensions, and expulsions that can funnel youth into the criminal justice system.


Our partners, the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee will meet regularly to make recommendations on the implementation of the law, beginning in November 2017. For additional details about the new law, visit For updates on ways you can engage, follow NCPTA on Twitter at @PTA4AllKids.



4. North Carolina Education Cabinet Meeting:

Julie von Haefen, Advocacy Committee Chair, attended the August Education Cabinet meeting.  In attendance were Governor Cooper, as well as representatives from the UNC system, Department of Public Instruction, State Board of Education, community colleges, independent colleges and the Department of Commerce.  Areas of discussion included teacher recruitment and retention, data sharing and postsecondary attainment for workforce development.


5. NC ESSA Plan Submitted to US Department of Education:

On Thursday, September 7, the State Board of Education approved the state’s final plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.


The plan must now be approved by the U.S. Department of Education, which has up to 120 days to complete its review, before going into effect during this school year.


The focus of the plan is to improve public schools and student outcomes. Included are 10-year goals for student performance using current end-of-grade and end-of-course exams; closing achievement gaps among specific minority groups, English learners and students with disabilities; and increasing the state’s four-year cohort graduation rate to 95 percent, up from the 2016 baseline of 85.9 percent.


National PTA Updates


1. STOPCutsToClassrooms Initiative:

Thanks to all who have signed the petition to “Stop Cuts to Classrooms.” National PTA has created two new parent-friendly resources to tell families all they need to know about federal funding for low-income students and students with disabilities. If you haven’t done so already, please sign the online petition and check out the resources at or the links below: 


2. Statement on Immigration Reform:

“With the announcement that the DACA program will be rescinded, our attention turns to Congress to urge bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. Now, policymakers have a momentous opportunity to work together to provide real solutions that benefit our nation’s diverse and talented youth and their families,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA encourages our 4 million members to mobilize by reaching out to their members of Congress, urging them to pass legislation that provides the young immigrants who have received protection under DACA the ability to reach their fullest potential. Their future and our nation’s future depend on it.” 


National PTA has long believed that every child residing in the United States—regardless of their immigration status—has the right of access to a high-quality public education, adequate food and shelter, and basic health care services. Ensuring that all children, including immigrant children, have the opportunity to become productive members of society is essential and in the best interest of the nation.


“Access to an education and essential services is the most effective method to give children—and our nation—the best opportunity to succeed. These services should not be denied to any child,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “At National PTA, our motto is ‘Every Child, One Voice,’ and one of our founding principles is to advocate for children and families who are most vulnerable. With yesterday’s announcement, our association raises our voice for the 800,000 young immigrants who are impacted.”


3. Poll Results on Support for Public Education:

This week, Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) released the results from its 2017 Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The findings demonstrate support for public schools and a need for greater investments in public education, as well as programs and services that improve children’s health, wellness and long-term success.


In the poll, Americans were asked their opinion on using public money to support private schools.

  • 61% of Americans indicated they prefer a system through which public funds are used only to pay for public schools and cannot be directed to private or religious schools.
  • 54% of public school parents said that if they had a choice to send their child to a private or religious school using public funds, they would still send their child to a public school.
  • 52% of Americans responded that they oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense.

“Like most Americans, National PTA opposes any private school choice system that would divert desperately needed public school resources,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “Private school choice programs educate only a few, select students; are not governed by public officials accountable to the public; and have not been proven to improve student outcomes. Taxpayer dollars for education must carry the responsibility of providing public access, governance and accountability. Public dollars must remain invested in public schools for the benefit of all students and the future of our nation.”


4. House of Representatives funds Statewide Family Engagement Centers

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would fund federal programs and services for Fiscal Year 2018. The bill includes $10 million in funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program.


“National PTA is an advocate for investments in the SFECs program because family engagement is proven to positively impact student achievement and school performance,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “We commend Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) for their leadership in offering an amendment to fund the SFECs program and applaud the House of Representatives for its bipartisan commitment to family engagement.”


The SFEC program is included in the Every Student Succeeds Act—the law governing the federal role in K-12 education. The program will provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of meaningful family engagement policies and initiatives.


NCPTA Advocacy Committee:


Advocacy Committee Chair and Federal Legislative Chair:

Julie von Haefen (Apex)


Advocacy Committee Members:

Donald Barringer (Durham)

Meredith Rouse Davis (Cary) Rob Elliot (Fairview)

Pam Johnson (Wilmington)

Porcha McMillian (Fayetteville)

Sarah Martin (Cary)


NCPTA Advocacy Priorities


School Funding

Teachers and Administrators

Parental Involvement


Health and Wellness


How Do I Become An Effective NCPTA Advocate?

  • Be Fearless.
  • Be Helpful.
  • Be Informed.
  • Be Civil.
  • Be Persistent.
  • Always Say Thank You.


List of pending bills impacting K-12 education


The 2017-2018 session of the North Carolina Legislative Assembly promises to be a busy one. To date, 6 of the 15 pieces of legislation being considered by the Legislature impact K-12 education. Click here for the list of bills for you to follow.

Advocacy Tip of the Month


The National PTA has an extensive variety of information on their website on advocacy, including social media tips, hosting candidate forums, basic legislative processes, and how to write an op-ed or letter to the editor.  Go to or log in to the PTA Back to School Kit at and click on "Advocacy." 


Elected Officials Go to School Program


This program provides an opportunity for elected officials to visit, observe and participate in activities of North Carolina Public Schools. We encourage you to invite county commissioners, members of local boards of education, state legislators and other elected officials to participate in the daily routine at your school. Click here for the full guide and information on how to host an event at your school.

Join the National PTA's Take Action Network! 


Click here to sign up to receive advocacy alerts, sign online petitions and send emails directly to your federal representatives.



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