Advocacy

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Advocacy

PTA speaks for every child with one voice. As the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation, we are the conscience of the country for issues affecting children and youth. Each year National PTA publishes a public policy platform that outlines policy priorities and recommendations for Congress.

Across the country, our members devote time and resources to advocating on issues that help make every child’s potential a reality. Their work affects legislative and/or regulatory policies on a state and/or local level.  PTA advocacy efforts include working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration, raising public awareness on critical issues and developing advocacy training for their membership to create a larger voice from the community to influence positive change.

Check out these amazing stories from PTAs who are dedicated to advocacy efforts in their community.

Advocacy

West Haven High School PTSA

West Haven, Conn.

Vaping was an ongoing challenge at West Haven High School in West Haven, Conn. The West Haven High School PTSA decided to tackle the issue head on! Using their grant from National PTA and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, they activated tobacco prevention activities on National Take Down Tobacco day using the provided Tobacco Prevention Campaign toolkit. Multiple school clubs got involved along with community groups and the entire school administration and staff. The school clubs came up with creative ways to advocate for “Taking Down Tobacco,” and promoted the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids messages. The PTSA handed out stickers, cards, bottles, sunglasses and information about the dangers of tobacco. Students also took the pledge to Take Down Tobacco! After school, students gathered to clean up cigarette butts, e-cigarette waste and other tobacco-related products. When it was all collected, it was obvious to them just how Big Tobacco’s trash is piling up in their community. The event was a huge success and educated their student population about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes. #HowWePTA

West Haven High School PTSA

In their own words:
“Students actively engaged in tobacco prevention efforts, transforming themselves into youth advocates that are equipped to carry on the anti-tobacco message.”
—West Haven High PTSA 




Southeastern High School PTA

Detroit, Mich.

The PTA at Southeastern High School in Detroit, Mich., knew that many of their students had tried e-cigarettes and vaping – even on school grounds. They decided to make it their mission to make students aware of the dangers of tobacco. Using their grant from National PTA and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, they activated tobacco prevention activities on National Take Down Tobacco day using the provided Tobacco Prevention Campaign toolkit. They started the campaign by initiating a school-wide pledge where students and adults pledged to quit tobacco! In all, 270 people signed the pledge. They also launched a slogan and poster contest. They wrapped up their campaign activities with a workshop featuring community members talking with students and families about the effects and dangers e-cigarette use and vaping. #HowWePTA

In their own words:
“We have received an overwhelming response to our campaign, it’s unbelievable what students can do when they have a voice and are active participants in campaign efforts!”
—Southeastern High School PTA


Southeastern High School PTA



Wheaton High School PTSA

Wheaton, Md.

The Wheaton High School PTSA in Wheaton, Md., has a long history of engaging students in school-wide, year-round health and wellness initiatives. When they learned that 40% of high school students across their county reported having smoked e-cigarettes and flavored vaping products, they knew they had to take charge and take down tobacco! Using their grant from National PTA and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, they hosted a three-day social media storm. Using the provided Tobacco Prevention Campaign toolkit, students used creative ways to get the message out about Big Tobacco facts, tagging legislators and celebrities to get broader attention. They also hosted a Spring Health and Wellness Festival, which brought their school community together. Festival attendees took a chance and answered trivia questions about Big Tobacco to earn a prize. Through their campaign and event, they educated many of their families about the dangers of smoking e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products. #HowWePTA

Wheaton High School

In their own words:
“I am shocked that there are thousands of flavored tobacco products on the market for sale to teens.”
—Parent, Wheaton High School




Parish Hill-PHACT PTSA

Chaplin, Conn.

Parish Hill-PHACT PTSA in Chaplin, Conn., started their journey to a School of Excellence distinction with the goal of preventing bullying and encouraging healthy peer relationships. Despite the limitations brought on by COVID-19, the PTSA was not deterred, and began with thoughtful conversations about racial injustices, both within their community and the world at large. Parrish Hill’s PTSA wrote letters to the Board of Education advocating they review the school's curriculum as well as the school's discipline policy. Committees were promptly formed and the changes they made helped strengthen empathy amongst the school community and ensured students would leave Parish Hill schools with well-rounded knowledge about the world around them. While the PTSA knows their work is never finished, their small but mighty school has gone above and beyond in the last year to ensure their students are part of the solution to injustice. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

School of Excellence Parish Hill



Case Study: Texas PTA Rally Day

BANDing Together in Tough Times


Texas PTA faced unprecedented challenges while planning their 2021 Rally Day—a global pandemic and a historic ice storm meant that in-person meetings with elected officials were impossible. But they knew they couldn’t go into “hibernation mode” as students needed their support more than ever before. Rather, they had to think differently about how to PTA.

Read our case study to learn how they used digital technology to reimagine their advocacy work for a virtual world.



Advocacy Award

California State PTA

2020 Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award Winner
California

From 2019-2020, California State PTA dedicated its efforts to raising awareness about healthier school start times. The association played an instrumental role in the passage of SB 328, which requires that middle schools in California start no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Prior to California State PTA’s advocacy efforts, the average start time for middle and high schools in the state was 8:07 a.m., which was contrary to the sleep health needs and developmental norms of adolescents. California State PTA implemented a multi-faceted advocacy plan which included trainings, working with local PTA leaders, legislative visits, outreach for critical votes, and media outreach and coverage all in support of SB 328. California State PTA also targeted key legislators and the Governor, successfully using local PTA members to carry the message and secure the passage of the bill. As a result of California State PTA’s advocacy efforts, California is the first state in the nation to require later school start times for middle and high school students.



Advocacy Award

Will Davis Elementary PTA

2020 Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award Winner
Texas

Will Davis Elementary PTA conducted an advocacy campaign to urge their elected officials to increase education funding and create a new recapture formula that more effectively utilizes taxpayer money. The goal of the recapture system in Texas is to help make public school funding more equitable between school districts by having wealthy districts send locally-collected property tax revenue to the state to distribute to lower-wealth districts. However, Will Davis Elementary PTA’s district was facing a financial crisis. Their advocacy team decided to use a recent bond election to grow awareness about the crisis, including detailing the resources that are required to run a school district and the origin of those funds. Will Davis Elementary PTA partnered with two nonprofits to create and distribute information about school funding across the state to help parents understand the context of school finance discussions. The advocacy team met with elected officials and their aides to discuss funding and regularly attended meetings with other area advocacy groups to share information and implement new strategies. Will Davis Elementary PTA’s advocacy efforts came to fruition most notably with the passage of HB 3, which increased education funding and changed aspects of the recapture formula, providing some budget relief for their school district.



This is How We PTA

Share your story with us by using #HowWePTA on social media. Need some inspiration? Check out the amazing stories from people across the country sharing how they PTA.