Greetings to all of Georgia’s PTA leaders, educators and child advocacy organizations around the state:
This has been a great week for PTA, and I want to share some sensational news with all of you! It pertains to the annual event that National PTA hosts each year, the Legislative Advocacy Conference. It was held this week from March 7-9, 2017 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. PTA’s stellar performance over the years with regard to advocacy cannot be denied. At this Conference, incredible milestones were celebrated, policy makers were honored, and PTA members whose efforts to make every child’s potential a reality were recognized. The dynamic workshops featured information on key education issues facing the new Congress, with discussions and trainings on how PTA advocates can shape public policy at home and on Capitol Hill in 2017 and in the years to come.
You will be particularly interested in knowing that Georgia PTA represented our state very well. I arrived to the legislative conference on Monday and attended various training provided by National PTA for state presidents and president elects. Also, as a member of National PTA’s Legislative Committee, I had the privileged to serve as a moderator for the workshop and panel discussion (“Turning Potential into Reality: Public Education for All”). In addition, Georgia PTA’s delegation included representatives from two diverse statewide community PTAs: 1) Higher Education PTSA (“our statewide college community PTSA), represented by their President (Katie Killeen) and Communications Chair (Alexandria Sapp); and 2) Hispanic/Latino Statewide Community PTA was represented by its Communications Chair, Lezlie Osorio, both of these community PTAs were actively involved in efforts to defeat the Opportunity School district (OSD). I was very proud to have the members of each community PTA attend conference workshops and legislative meetings with me on Capitol Hill.
On Thursday, March 9, the final of the conference reserved for visits on Capitol Hill by the many state PTA delegations. The Georgia PTA delegation met with Congressmen Hack Johnson, Drew Ferguson, Jody Hice, and Rick Allen. They also met with 10 additional Legislative offices on the Hill. The various topics that we spoke with them about included: Investing in Public Education, Protecting our Children, along with our legislation in Georgia that align with the current Georgia PTA Legislative Priorities.
In addition to legislative workshops, training, and meetings, each year, the National PTA selects five (5) legislative advocacy winners from the following categories: 1) Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award; 2) Local/District/Regional PTA Advocacy Award; 3) Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award (presented to an individual PTA member, who through their leadership and advocacy efforts, affected federal policy priorities within PTA’s annual Public Policy Agenda. 4) Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award (presented to one young person); and 5) PTA Congressional Voice for Children Award.
National PTA’s Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award is presented to a state PTA that, through their dedication, leadership and efforts, positively affected legislative and/or regulatory policy compatible with PTA’s mission and goals. These efforts must be based on a statewide issue, involve working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration, and contain a public awareness/advocacy training component for PTA members and the community at large. Out of all of the PTAs around the world, National PTA’s 2017 Winner of the Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award is: Georgia PTA. This award was presented to us at the legislative luncheon on Wednesday, March 8. Note a quote from National PTA:
“Georgia PTA dedicated its efforts over the past year to advocating against the Opportunity School District ballot initiative, which would have put a state political appointee in charge of public schools with few accountability measures and removed control from locally elected school boards and families. Georgia PTA members traveled the state, creating and participating in town hall meetings to educate and empower voters. The association also partnered with other organizations to produce television commercials, a social media campaign and a direct mail campaign. During its annual Georgia PTA Advocacy Day at the state capitol building, the association organized a training session on the ballot initiative, an advocacy walk and a rally with a press conference. Due to the advocacy efforts of Georgia PTA, the proposed ballot initiative failed-with 60% of the voters in the state voting “no”-effectively ensuring that families and local elected officials continue to have control over their students’ education.”
I would be remiss if I did not express my formal appreciation once again for the extraordinary, collaborative effort by a very large group of people. Yes, it was indeed an enormous amount of time, resources and hard work required. You should all give yourselves a huge applause for the significant contributions that you made in the resounding OSD defeat. The state of Georgia covers a large territory, so we know that we could not have done it without your efforts. Special thanks to Tynettia Elrod, Georgia PTA’s Legislative Chair, for taking the time to pull all of the data together needed for completion of the award application process.
Georgia PTA is looking forward to yet another event that will take place in the coming days that illustrates our child advocacy focused mission, the annual Reflections Reception. Students from around the state will be formally recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in the arts.
Keep up the great work of advocating for our precious children!
See what’s happening on our social sites: