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 a 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 email@example.com
Michigan PTA Q&A - School Boards and the Open Meetings Act 5/1/21
Video 1 of 7:
The Michigan PTA Advocacy Committee asked Eric Walcott from MSU Extension to talk: School Boards are a public body and therefore subject to the OMA. Please describe what it means to be a public body and the OMA, specifically what is its intent or purpose?
Video 2 of 7:
The Michigan PTA Advocacy Committee asked Eric Walcott from MSU Extension to talk: What does the OMA require for public notice of an up-coming School Board meeting? What does the OMA require in regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
Video 3 of 7:
The Michigan PTA Advocacy Committee asked Eric Walcott from MSU Extension to talk: Does the OMA allow for a School Board to hold a meeting virtually if a local government declares a state of emergency? Could the meeting be held in a hybrid format?
Video 4 of 7:
The Michigan PTA Advocacy Committee asked Eric Walcott from MSU Extension to talk: Based on the current orders from the MDHHS, what health & safety protocols need to be implemented for a School Board to hold an in-person meeting?
Video 5 of 7:
The Michigan PTA Advocacy Committee asked Eric Walcott from MSU Extension to talk: Does the OMA require public comment at a School Board Meeting? Under the OMA, are School Boards allowed to adopt policy and procedures for public comments? How can members of the public advocate to their local School Board for policy changes in regards to how they handle public comments at their meetings?
Video 6 of 7:
The Michigan PTA Advocacy Committee asked Eric Walcott from MSU Extension to talk: Does the OMA require that materials shared or presented to the board during a meeting be made available to the public? Regarding access to meetings, does the OMA require the school board to live stream or broadcast their meetings? Does the OMA require that a meeting be recorded and access to the recording be made available to the public?
Video 7 of 7:
The Michigan PTA Advocacy Committee asked Eric Walcott from MSU Extension to talk: What is it about the OMA that allows for a large variance in how meetings are run between school districts? What is the penalty for a School Board if they violate the OMA?
This year because of COVID-19, we will not be having a live day at our state capitol in Lansing, Michigan. We ask all local PTAs across the state to do direct contact with the State Representative and State Senator and set up a virtual meeting with their legislator to speak to their PTA members on education topics. The Michigan PTA has a zoom account that we will set up for PTAs to use for free if their local legislator office does not have a virtual meeting method. We will provide a step-by-step worksheet for setting up these meetings and talking points for the conversation. Sign up to be a volunteer for your community when you sign up to attend the legislative conference on March 20th, 2021. The goal is that these virtual meetings start on March 24th, 2021, and are completed by March 31st, 2021; many schools have different spring breaks and schedules to work around. Questions contact Marcy Dwyer, Michigan PTA VP Child Advocacy at 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.