Advocacy

Are you looking for something easy to do that makes a difference?

Is the health, well-being, and education of your kids important to you?

This year is an historic opportunity to make a difference in our State of Washington, because many very important changes to our education system are being discussed, and very important state budget issues are being decided as our legislature tries to comply with the State Supreme Court 2018 deadline to fully fund basic education in line with the McCleary decision. Our opportunity has a short time frame and a deadline. If we miss it, we may not get another opportunity of this magnitude for a long while.

Therefore, the time to speak up is now.

Advocacy Action Center

How Can You Help? How Can You Participate?

Three Easy Ways You Can Make a Difference for Your Kids:

  1. Become a PTA Member:  by becoming a PTA member at your school, you add to the impact the PTA is already making on your behalf. Our WA State PTA team is already advocating in Olympia and will continue this work throughout the session. Your membership increases our numbers, which adds more weight to our advocacy efforts in the eyes of our legislators.HOW? Visit your school’s PTA website and join!
  2. Contact Your STATE Legislators as a PTA Member and Share Our 2016-18 WA State PTA Legislative Platform:  by adding your voice to those PTA members already working on your behalf, you raise the volume of our requests and help make sure our legislators know these issues are truly a priority for ALL of us.HOW? Everything you need to know about why, how, and who can be found in this handy HOW-TO tool:  “2017 Postcard Campaign WHAT WE CAN DO?” 
  3. Contact Your STATE Legislators as a Parent and Community Member to Share Your Own, Personal Concerns, Stories, and Opinions:  while as PTA members we legally must share the official PTA stances and Platform, as individual constituents we always have the right to speak our own opinions and add weight to the grassroots interest in these important topics.

Extra Ways to Make a Difference for Your Kids:

  • Follow the legislative session through the WA State PTA Grassroots Connection blog to find information about bills and topics for which you can advocate as a parent and community member.
  • Sign up for Voter Voice, WSPTA’s advocacy action tool, to learn more about legislative issues affecting families, schools, and communities and to take action when applicable. Taking action can include sending an email to your representative or a making a phone call to a legislative official.
  • Contact Duncan Taylor, WA State PTA Legislative Director at PTALegDir@wastatepta.org if you’re interested in joining a team as an active contributor in support of one of our new WA State PTA Issues.
  • Stay tuned for more Advocacy in Action ideas!

Tips for Effective Advocacy and the Importance of Nonpartisan Discourse for Affecting Change:

Working together in emotionally charged situations to find creative and effective solutions requires the same social skills and emotional control as we’re all taught when trying to engage in effective parenting strategies.

  • Stay Calm
    Brain science shows us the importance of remaining calm in adversarial situations if we want the other person to listen to our side of the story. Check out Dan Siegel – “Flipping Your Lid:” A Scientific Explanation to understand what happens to our ability to work through to solutions when we get upset…or when we make others upset.
  • Retain Empathy, Act with Integrity and Respect, Focus on Collaboration and Accountability
    When you engage with our legislators we not only represent ourselves, but we also serve as the face of a State and National organization with a long and storied history. When we engage with our legislators, it may be frustrating when we don’t like their answers, especially when these answers and actions impact our children. Please remember that our legislators are people. Listen with an open heart, knowing that everyone comes to the table with different perspectives and life experiences. You are a role model for our children and for others.
  • Persevere with Patience
    As our current WA State PTA Legislative Director, Duncan Taylor, says, “Advocacy is not a one-day event.” Successful Advocacy is built, over time, through the creation of trust and understanding. While we may not always agree with their choices for us, our legislators have stepped up to serve, and a majority has voted them into their positions. As people, and as fellow-community members, our legislators deserve our respect and our civility.
  • Get Informed, Stick to the Facts and Issues, Stay Nonpartisan
    In our supercharged political climate, this is the toughest line to walk. However, it might also be the most important. The how and the why of it…coming soon! Thanks for your patience.

Thank you for joining me in sharing our Platform and advocating on behalf of every child in our state.

Questions, Concerns, Comments:  Contact Erika Kapur, LW PTSA Council VP Advocacy

 

WSPTA Annual Legislative Assembly

What Makes Our PTA Legislative Platform So Important and So Successful?

Three simple things drive the endurance of the PTA legacy. These three things are also why we create a State-level Legislative Platform every year.

  • First, Bigger Rocks Make Bigger Ripples –
    If we have 131,000+ parents all saying the same thing, that’s a big splash. We make a bigger impact!
  • Second, A Rock is Not Just a Rock (i.e., all rocks are a little different) –
    If we have 131,000+ parents working out the issues from all sides and telling their own, personal stories about the same theme, we make a more well-thought-out, meaningful, and lasting impact on our decision makers. We empower them to get their job done with well-presented arguments.
  • Third, Rocks Launched at Random Make Smaller Ripples and Might Even Miss the Lake –
    More than 131,000 parents, joined together for common causes with the resources of an organized effort behind them, means the messages will hit their targets squarely and effectively.

What Is Our Legislative Platform for 2016-2018?

In other words, what rocks are we launching?

At this year’s Legislative Assembly, we, the WA State PTA membership voted in our New WA State PTA Legislative Platform. This fantastic, new, WA State PTA Legislative Platform Benefits the Whole Child…And Every Child! I can honestly say participating in this event this year was one of the greatest honors and most inspiring opportunities I’ve had in a long time. We had great, respectful, and thorough conversations on all sides of the issues and came away with universally supported solutions to tough problems we face across the State. We can all be #PTAProud of the respectful conduct our membership exhibited as part of these conversations and debates and of the solutions we’ve decided to support with our organizational weight and voice.

Check out our brand new WA State PTA Legislative Platform to see what we’ll all be working together to achieve in the coming Legislative Session.

2016-2018 Top-5 Issues on the Legislative Platform
Social Emotional Learning*
Amply Fund Basic Education*
Closing the Opportunity Gap*
Standards for Paraeducators*
Breakfast after the Bell*

Issues Also Supported (listed alphabetically)
Improving Educational Outcomes for Foster Children*
Engaging Families in Student Success
Post-Secondary Higher Education*
Removing Barriers to Implementing ECEAP
Restorative Justice and School Safety

*2015-16 legislative issues

New, Long-Term Resolutions:
Child Sex Trafficking
Dyslexia and its Educational Impact
Mitigating Environmental Hazards and Contaminants in Schools

Why Do We Endure? Because Your Child Matters.

Hearst and Birney had a vision and made it an enduring reality.

Two people.

That’s all it took to make a difference and create a legacy that’s stood the test of time and challenge for more than 100 years. You are reading this today because of the mission and vision of two people, just like you, who wanted to better the lives of children through community relationships and through the laws of our states and our country. You are reading this today because the importance of our children and our need to give them the best life possible hasn’t changed in those 100 years.

If we stop and think about the brilliance of their mission for a minute, we might also realize the importance of our organization and the role that we play with our membership and with our active support. Our mission to promote the welfare of our children, to protect them with our laws and our families working together, and to foster stronger relationships between our families and our schools and our communities remains unchanged since 1897. Our mission, amazingly, not only remains unchanged but it remains just as necessary…even through so many changes…through the advent of cars, through two world wars, through the great depression, through the industrial revolution, through the commonplace of flight and world travel, and through the boom of the internet…our mission is still needed. It still matters.

Our mission and our organization is still needed, not because we’ve failed to make a difference, but because PTA has empowered us so successfully to keep making a difference for so long. Every year we make great strides towards accomplishing that mission. Every year we find new solutions to problems both old and new. Every year we reach across party lines to find common ground for the sake of our children’s health, well-being, and education. Every year we find strength and resilience in each other to continue this work. Every year we come together to continue the legacy that began in 1897. And, every year, you are part of that legacy and part of that momentum that creates and moves laws forward to give our children better lives and greater opportunities. You are part of that legacy and part of that momentum just by being a member of PTA. And you grow that legacy and create more momentum when you decide to read this letter, when you decide to find a solution, when you join a team that keeps working to make positive changes happen, when you stand up, speak up, and show up on behalf of every child.

That legacy, that momentum, that impact…that mission…that is why we hold our PTA Legislative Assembly every year. That is why we create a Legislative Platform at the State PTA level. Every year, Legislative Assembly and the creation of our Legislative Platform is the first step in our State PTA advocacy efforts for every child. This year was no different, and we successfully set our new platform at the end of October, 2016.

Last year, Representative McBride told us that “PTA is one of the most powerful organizations in the State.” Help us continue to leverage the power of PTA; be part of our momentum; be part of the team that makes more change happen for each and every one of our children. See how our State PTA is working to support the health, well-being, and education of every child on our behalf this year at http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/index.html. Be part of the teams that testify with your personal stories and experiences by letting our WA State PTA Legislative Director, Duncan Taylor, know which issue you’d like to actively support. Add weight and importance to our organization, and help drive those changes forward by recruiting new members and joining the ever-enduring voice of PTA. Make our membership and our voice seen and heard…help us build a visual impact for our legislators by attending Focus Day on January 16th in Olympia.

In everything you do, in every way you choose to help, you have the power to ensure this legacy continues to endure.

Lake Washington School District

The district’s website contains a wealth of information and is regularly updated. LWSD has a regular newsletter you can sign up for at the homepage of the website.  It is the best way to stay on top of what is happening in the district.
LWSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce frequently attends our monthly general membership council meetings where she fields questions from PTA members. Learn more about Dr. Pierce here.

Lake Washington School District School Board

School directors (school board members) are the elected “governors” of the school district, serving four-year terms. The school board holds monthly meetings that are open to the public.  School board members can be reached via email (see website). Many are willing to meet either individually or with small groups.

Washington State PTA

Founded in 1905, the Washington Congress of Parents and Teachers, better known as the Washington State PTA, is the largest volunteer organization in the state, with more than 140,000 members in more than 900 local units across the state.  No wonder we are considered the premiere children’s advocacy group in the state of Washington!