In the context of PTA, advocacy is supporting and speaking up for children — in schools, in communities, and before government bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children.
In 1897 when Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst decided that someone should speak out on behalf of children, they founded the National Congress of Mothers, which became National PTA. For 120 years, PTA advocacy has resulted in:
-Creation of Kindergarten classes
-Child labor laws
-Public health service
-Juvenile Justice system
-School lunch program
Today, PTA continues to advocate for all children, to press for adequate, equitable, and sustainable school funding, to create safe and healthy communities, and to make every child’s potential a reality. Become an advocate by joining the Michigan PTA Advocacy Alert Network, via Voter Voice, to add your voice to PTA’s one voice for every child.
Michigan PTA works with the National PTA on Federal Legislative Affairs. Michigan PTA has an Advocacy Committee to work on Michigan Legislative Affairs. Both organizations are non-partisan. You may join fellow PTA members to receive action alerts and information on legislative issues at both the national and state level. Please sign up today!
Michigan PTA VoterVoice
National PTA VoterVoice
To view more information on National PTA Legislative Affairs visit https://www.pta.org/home/advocacy
Michigan PTA also has two state groups you can join to be more involved in advocacy.
Advocacy General - This group is for all who are interested in Michigan PTA Advocacy at State and Federal Level. Announcements and Information will come out as needed. Questions text Michigan PTA Advocacy Chair at 248.470.2849.
Join Advocacy General hub on MemberHub.
Michigan Advocacy Committee - To join the current advocacy committee, contact the VP of Children's Advocacy to express your interest. Ideal candidates have past PTA experience, been a local Legislative or Advocacy chair, or served in another organization working on children's education such as a school board or other children education group. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
PTA is the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association in the United States. Founded in 1897, PTA has a long, successful history of influencing federal policy to promote the education, health and well-being of all children—resulting in kindergarten classes, child labor laws, school lunch programs, a juvenile justice system, and strengthened parent-teacher relationships. National PTA continues that legacy today by fighting for change under its federal public policy priorities:
• Family Engagement in Education
• Quality Education for All Children
• Adequate Funding for Education
• Child Health and Nutrition
• Safe Schools and Communities
• Fair Juvenile Justice Laws
Michigan laws have a major impact on education and child welfare. Michigan PTA and local PTAs can play a pivotal role in promoting PTA priorities by involving their members in advocacy to help secure adequate state and local laws for our students.
There are many ways to be an advocate! Some ways families can be involved are to:
Michigan PTA advocating at the Michigan State Capitol
Taking part in changing public policy includes the following steps. However, the capacity of the group and breadth of change desired will determine the level of involvement in advocacy activities.
Step 1—Gather Information
Step 2—Collaborate with Others
Step 3—Build Relationships with Policymakers
Step 4—Convey a Message
The following are two vehicles that may be used to convey a message to policymakers, the public and the media. Remember that messages and how they are conveyed vary depending on the audience. However, no matter who the audience is, a good message should contain basic components: First, give numbers – how is government/public money currently being spent effectively and efficiently? Second, use numbers – what unmet need is this fulfilling in the community?
1. To educate the public and the media, the message must be presented in a clear, non-technical manner. Refrain from using jargon and focus on addressing the impact the issue has in your community. In addition, they should show proximity to the policymaker or citizen’s self interest. Possible activities include:
2. To engage in direct interactions with policymakers on specific issues, your messages must be clear and to the point. Messages conveyed to policymakers should highlight the people affected and the monetary issues involved, but also clearly state your position on the issue/bill. Keep your interactions brief and to the point.
Michigan State Representative Brad Paquette (78th District; Niles, MIchigan; Republican) is a former teacher, currently serving as Majority Vice Chair of the House Education Committee. Rep. Paquette is an enthusiastic supporter of Michigan education and is happy to share a few encouraging words about PTA members reaching out to their state legislators.
Q&A Webinar with Michigan State University's Office of K-12 Outreach (December 9, 2021)
Activating Family Engagement and Covid Relief Funds
Speaking about their Covid-19 Relief Dollars Process Guide, the Office of K-12 Outreach, part of MSU's College of Education, shared with the Michigan PTA the long term impact this funding could have on educational spending and ways to engage with your school district.
MI PTA Giving You the How on the American Rescue Plan Act and Parent Voice Webinar June 2021
Learn about and discuss how your PTA can get involved in School District discussions about spending American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Public input is a required part of this Act.