Our Public Policy Agenda National Association for Pupil Transportation National Association for Pupil Transportation Share | Advocacy means... Advocacy is commonly defined as “active support of an idea or cause, especially the act of pleading or arguing for something”. At NAPT we believe advocacy is essential, so much so that we have integrated the concept as a cornerstone of our mission. To us, advocacy means being a pro-active representative for NAPT members in influencing public policy. The NAPT Board of Directors has therefore adopted tenets that have been recommended by our Public Policy Committee. These statements, which are reviewed and revised if necessary each year, are intended not only as a way to help our members and potential members understand the general values of the association, they are also intended to inform the public of the principles to which our members are committed. The NAPT Public Policy Committee and Board of Directors realize school bus transportation is just one of the components in every successful educational enterprise, though we believe it is the lynchpin. It is the direct link between a neighborhood and the classroom. But we are also aware that decisions and discussions about school bus transportation do not happen in a vacuum. Other elements of the education system, indeed, other elements of life in general, are major factors that can have a dramatic impact on transportation service to and from school and school-related events. We therefore encourage our members to acquaint themselves with a wide variety of issues that are or may be topics of discussion in the broad scale public policy arena. We want them to be able to positively influence the dialogue, respond to misinformation and increase awareness of the good news about school transportation among the public, the news media and policymakers. All NAPT members should know why we believe... 1) The yellow school bus is the safest, most economical, most energy-responsive and most environmentally-friendly way to transport our children to and from school each day; 2) There is an important link between the yellow school bus and the performance of our children in the classroom; ensuring access to the school bus helps to ensure access to educational services and ultimately educational attainment; 3) The color of a school bus is an integral attribute of its unique design and the industry must ensure that the color of a school bus continues to meet its role and objective as a safety factor; 4) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should complete necessary research into the passenger crash protection systems built into the yellow school bus prior to issuing any additional requirements related to such systems. 5) School transportation administrators should engage in continuous professional education and should be certified in industry practices and knowledge; 6) Illegal passing of stopped school buses unnecessarily exposes our children to the risk of injury and death and that it must be eliminated through standardized penalties, simpler enforcement and penalties, and greater public education efforts; 7) Bullying has no place on the school bus and school districts should have clear and well-considered policies for handling such events and behaviors not only in the classroom but also on the school bus and at school bus stops; 8) All school bus drivers and attendants should receive relevant and appropriate training in transporting all students, but particularly in the transportation of students with disabilities and special needs; 9) It is preferable that all children ride on yellow school buses but in those areas where this is not possible, children should be provided with the safest possible transit systems and equipment or safely-constructed and well-equipped infrastructure to get them to school; 10) Leaving children unattended on school buses must not be condoned in any way because it exposes our children to risk, is a frightening experience for the children and erodes public confidence in the safety and security of the yellow school bus; 11) School transportation operators should utilize computer-based routing and scheduling systems to attain maximum efficiency in their operations and safety for all the children; 12) Taxpayers are entitled to know that school transportation operations are conducted according to benchmarked standards and quality measures; 13) School bus drivers should not engage in text messaging or similar activities while operating a school bus; 14) School bus drivers should always utilize their lap-shoulder seat restraints on the school bus; 15) The federal government should appropriate full funding of IDEA and special education services, including costs related to transportation; 16) The federal and state governments should invest appropriately in improving our highways and bridges to help ensure safer passage of the nation’s 450,000 school buses and the 25 million children we carry on our school buses. Feel free to contact Peter Mannella, Chair of the NAPT Public Policy Committee for additional information about our Public Policy Agenda.