Our Children, Our Future:
Why We Advocate
Part of the National PTA’s threefold mission is to speak on behalf of all children and youth before governmental bodies and other organizations. For over 100 years, PTA volunteers have used their time, energy, experience and knowledge to bring about changes in laws, policies and programs for the benefit of children. (Learn more about Our History)
In order to maintain a nonprofit status under federal rules, the Georgia PTA is nonpartisan and works to direct its efforts at members of both political parties in order to enact change. When PTA officers or lobbyists participate in legislative activities that educate lawmakers about officially adopted PTA positions, or support a particular piece of legislation that is in agreement with the PTA Legislative Program, it is done on a strictly nonpartisan basis.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy can be broken down into basic parts: the Advocate, the Issue, the Act and the Decision-maker.
- Anyone who speaks for another is an advocate. PTA members are advocates for children and their parents.
- PTA members advocate on a wide variety of child-related issues: education, health, nutrition, safety, juvenile protection, welfare reform, parent and family life, and drug abuse prevention, to name a few.
- Advocacy is simply communicating about an issue for which PTA has adopted a position by speaking, writing, phoning, faxing or emailing. The purpose of the communication can be to inform, educate, persuade or increase the level of awareness about the issue.
- The decision-maker is any individual or body that has the power to address the issue or solve the problem. Decision-makers include elected and appointed officials, legislative bodies, school boards, county commissioners, and judges.
Every PTA member can be an effective advocate. The process is always the same: identify, research and understand the issue; identify, research and understand the decision-maker; and develop and communicate the message. The process is not always easy, and dedication and perseverance are usually required. Sometimes success is achieved quickly, sometimes slowly.
2011-12 Georgia PTA Legislative Priorities
Support Student Achievement:
- Support multiple criteria be used to determine promotion and retention and not rely on the results of a single test
- Support efforts to increase the graduation rate in Georgia
- Support efforts to increase the age a student can drop out of school
- Support a full-time school nurse in every school and other health initiatives because healthy children learn better
Support Family Engagement:
- Support multiple opportunities for parent/caregiver involvement in decisions regarding school policies and curriculum
Support Adequate Funding for Education:
- Support public K-12 schools with adequate state funding, reflective of the actual costs of providing the state-defined services
- Support equitable distribution of state funding to K-12 schools
- Support public funding for K-12 education in public schools exclusively
- Oppose any efforts to use public funds for private schools
Support Local Control/Local Decision Making:
- Support local property tax and education SPLOST tax revenue be under the control of the local Board of Education
- Support the right of local Boards of Education to manage and control local public schools
Support Health and Safety:
- Support efforts to reduce bullying
- Support efforts to reduce childhood obesity