Advocacy Resources at PTA; A share from El Camino High School PTSA

South San Francisco, CA September 8, 2013
ECHS

El Camino High School PTSA president Pat Murray has been doing an outstanding job of reaching out to the parents, and teachers, to help guide this year to another successful opportunity for our students. She has established a facebook page and offers regular updates to let the community know what is happening, where and when, and what help is still needed.

We salute Murray and her great use of social media to help get the word out and we wish ECHS a wonderful year. Below is a post from their page that warranted a larger audience.

Four Ps of Advocacy

By Rev. Roger S. Baskin, Sr.

There comes a time when you have to speak up for the change you
need for your children and yourself. How do you successfully advocate
for positive, lasting change? Before you begin, consider the four Ps of
advocating for change: positivity, partnership, preparation, and perseverance.

Positivity

We typically enter into advocacy because something made us angry,
and so, it may seem a bit counterintuitive to be positive when you are
advocating for change. However, it is an important aspect of success.
Many people confuse advocacy with being adversarial. Actually, the
attitude you bring to the issue you want addressed can either facilitate
change or block it.
Being positive is what helped one advocate for all-day kindergarten
secure meaningful change in spite of budget constraints and competing
interests. Shaista Keating, chair of Fairfax for Full-Day Kindergarten,
presented herself as a parent who was deeply passionate about securing
full-day kindergarten for her child and other children throughout the
Fairfax County, Virginia school district. She was a consistent voice of
positive change, not an enemy to competing interests. Her words and
actions were pro-child, not anti-administration or anti-teacher. The result
was that schools that did not offer full-day kindergarten all secured
the necessary funding to provide full-day education for kindergartners
throughout the county.

 

Partnership

One person cannot change the complex issues that face our children
and schools. Therefore, developing alliances with others who have
expertise, shared interests, and resources is paramount to any advocacy
campaign. Mary Porter, a founding member of Real Food for Kids
(www.realfoodforkids.org

 

), realized that her concern for what children
ate at school also related to achievement and behavioral issues. She began
collaborating with others who were concerned with the whole child,
including matters of sleep and school start times. Those collaborations
helped to strengthen her resolve to be a steadfast advocate for healthy
lifestyles for children and helped her efforts expand into a multifaceted
approach that is now well-established and ongoing.

Preparation

The most persuasive arguments have numbers to back them up. Therefore,
securing data that support your cause are essential to your success. Get
to know people who have access to the data you need. Louise Epstein,
chair of the Fairfax Education Coalition, makes a special point of serving
as a resource to various advocacy groups. Her efforts have helped shape
such efforts as school grading policies and modifications to advanced
academics in her Northern Virginia school district. One of her favorite
sources for data is the National Bureau of Economic Research, which
covers a variety of topics about education.

Perseverance

Finally, never give up. Change never comes easy. It takes time for people
to see the need for change that may be obvious to you. You must stay
creative in your efforts to educate the uninformed and engage the silent.
If you ever get tired of trying, remember that our children are worth it!
Rev. Roger S. Baskin, Sr. is a public school educator and an associate
minister at Macedonia Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia. A member
of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs, he is also the founder of Speak Up,
LLC, a leadership development company.

Advocacy Resources at PTA.org
Amplify your advocacy efforts through PTA. Our network of nearly
5 million volunteers ensures that, together, our voice is heard.
National PTA offers a wide variety of tools and resources at
PTA.org/advocacy to help child and education advocates
succeed, including:
• National PTA’s federal public policy agenda
• Advocacy toolkit
• State and federal legislation reference guides
• Common Core State Standards information and parent guides
• PTA Takes Action Network and newsletter

 

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