what is advocacY?

Advocacy means supporting and speaking up for children – in schools, in communities, and before government bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children. If you have ever spoken with your child’s teacher or principal regarding an issue you were concerned about, you are an advocate. PTA advocates speak not just for their child, but for all children in the class, in the school and in our communities. There are many ways to be an advocate.

  • Request that advocacy be on the agenda at every PTA meeting. Share what you're learning with your board and general membership. This is a great way to spark interest and find committee members and/or your successor!

  • Attend school board meetings and city council meetings when education issues are on the agenda. Invite other members to attend with you, and speak up in accordance with PTA legislative positions.

  • Take action on legislative alerts: When you receive an action alert from Michigan State PTA or National PTA, take action yourself and ask your leaders and members to do the same.

  • All PTA MEMBERS ARE ADVOCATES. You are engaging in advocacy whenever you:

  • Speak up for your child. Advocacy is happening every time you reach out to a teacher or school administrator to address a concern about your child's education. This could be as simple as attending a parent-teacher conference, checking in with the teacher about a low test score, or requesting a meeting with your principal and other school staff to discuss your child's disability and how the school can help.

  • Take action to improve conditions for all children at your school. A group of concerned parents might write a letter or request a meeting with school administration to discuss a safety issue affecting children on their route to school. Your PTA might organize a "town hall" meeting about school lockdown procedures, dress codes, or nutrition in the cafeteria, ask to review the principal's continuous improvement plan, or request a seat on the school's parent advisory committee.

  • Call on your community to respond to an urgent public policy matter. Occasionally, your state or National PTA will issue an alert that a pending piece of legislation has serious implications for public education. Local PTA leaders are in a unique position to educate and mobilize their members to speak up for children's needs.

AUTHORITY TO ACT. PTA members at the unit, council, district or state level must have PTA authority in order to advocate in the name of PTA. • PTA establishes authority for action through the association’s bylaws, the purposes of the PTA, position statements adopted by the Michigan State PTA Board of Managers, and through the legislation platform and resolutions approved by delegates at the Michigan State PTA Annual Convention. The legislation platform is reviewed and approved by the membership every two years at the state convention, and is the framework for PTA action on legislation and statewide ballot measures. The areas and scope of the legislation platform are guided by resolutions adopted by delegates at convention, position statements adopted by the Board of Managers, and by resolutions, position statements and directives from National PTA. Local advocates must research PTA authorities prior to taking action. Check to see if Michigan State PTA already has taken a position regarding your concern or a closely-related issue. If there is an adopted PTA position on an issue, that position can be used as authority to advocate in the name of PTA.

To learn more, visit the Michgain PTA

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