is year, more than ever, advocacy is critical to fulfilling the PTA’s mission of making every child’s potential a reality. We must recognize that many of our families are struggling to ensure their children get a quality education in the current environment. As PTA leaders, we have an opportunity to address these struggles by advocating for all our students and engaging and empowering our families and our communities to do the same.
While advocacy can sometimes seem intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. If you have ever addressed a concern with your child’s teacher or your school’s principal, then you have experience with advocacy. Here are a few specific ways you can be an advocate this year:
Calling all Advocates!! It's time to Rally for Education!!
We are asking YOU to join the Virginia PTA and our coalition partners at Fund Our Schools VA in our Virtual Rally that will occur as the Virginia General Assembly convenes for its Special Session next week.
All you need to do is snap a picture of yourself holding a sign or record a 20 second video requesting support for your top legislative priority from the list below and post it to your social media accounts beginning on August 18. Be sure to tag your legislators in your posts to make sure they get the message and use the following: #FundReturn2School #FundNotFreeze #VAPTAAdvocacy
#TakeAction4Kids. Calls and e-mails to your legislators are also encouraged!
Choose from the following legislative priorities that Virginia PTA is advocating for during the Special Session:
- Restore the $500M of K-12 funding that was unallotted in April
- Fund $600M for flexible K-12 pandemic response
- Accelerate funding for high-speed broadband
- Restore $50M for school counselors
- Provide a registered school nurse for every school
- Improve accessibility of licensed, affordable childcare
- Increase availability of rapid COVID-19 testing
- Fund compensatory services for students
- Provide adequate sanitizing and safety equipment for schools
- Ensure school meals are provided during school closures
- Provide needed support for low income families
New to advocacy and have questions....well, we have answers:
What is the General Assembly Special Session and why does it matter?
Governor Northam has called the General Assembly to come together for a Special Session to adopt the state's 2020-2022 budget. Adoption of the 2-year budget was delayed earlier this year due to changes in projected revenue and expenses as a result of the pandemic. As the General Assembly decides what to cut and what to fund during this fiscal crisis, it is more important than ever that we advocate for adequate funding for education, especially funds that will allow us to safely return to school.
What are Virginia PTA's legislative priorities for the Special Session and how do I know which one to mention in my post?
Virginia PTA is advocating for the list of items below. As with any advocacy, the most effective issues you can support are the ones that personally affect you or that you feel passionate about. Pick an issue from the list that matters to you, your children, and/or your school community. Then share your relevant experience directly with your legislator in the form of a social media post, call or e-mail and explain why it is important that your issue is funded. You will have IMPACT!
How do I find out who my legislators are?
Visit https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ and enter your address. For this Virtual Rally, you should reach out specifically to your State Delegate and State Senator. A quick search of their name on your preferred social media platform will direct you to their accounts for tagging and tweeting.
Still have questions? Reach out to Laura Espiritu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the State and County continue to address plans to reopen schools this fall, the Hunt District PTA recently sent letters to our state and local officials to share the Virginia PTA's Position Statement on the Reopening of Schools.
At the State level, we highlighted the need for clearly defined triggers to identify the start and end of each phase for planning purposes, emergency state funding to enable school divisions to safely reopen schools, new flexible sick/leave policies, and improved access to childcare to support our families and staff.
At the local level, we highlighted the need for clear communication regarding instruction and cleaning protocols, guaranteed flexible scheduling options for staff with high risk health conditions, access to high speed internet access for all students, and improved access to childcare.
In addition, we also sent a letter to Superintendent Dr. Wiiliams, LCPS senior staff, and the School Board with a list of unanswered questions gathered from PTA leaders throughout the County. We emphasized the importance of transparent communication utilizing multiple platforms and translation services to effectively relay all information to the community.
To all of our wonderful community advocates...keep asking questions, proposing solutions, and making your voices heard! While we are currently faced with so many obstacles and unknowns, your efforts, in partnership with our elected officials and school division leaders, will create the best possible outcome for our students, families, and staff.
The next LCPS School Board meeting is scheduled for July 21, 2020. Agendas are posted in Board Docs the Friday before. Be sure to tune in.