Every winter, when the General Assembly convenes, PTA officers and members from across the Commonwealth come together to talk with legislators about the challenges that face our schools.
This year, we are taking Virginia PTA Capitol Day virtual!
We invite you (and PTA members from your school community) to join us for a four-part series of Advocacy Learning Lab webinars to learn the basics of advocacy and get familiar with Virginia PTA's priorities.
Then, #TakeAction4Kids by sharing the challenges and successes you see in your school during a #ConstituentConnection virtual meeting with your legislator or by sharing posts on social media and joining our #VirtualRally on January 14th.
WHY ADVOCACY INSTEAD OF FUNDRAISING?
When we raise money, we are supporting only our own school. But, when we raise our voices and instead ask legislators for funding that prioritizes education, we can raise the bar for every student across Virginia.
Let's break down some facts about education in Virginia and why your voice is important;
Prior to the pandemic, Virginia ranked 41st in the nation for per pupil state spending and 33rd for early childhood education. Fourteen percent of K-12 students in Virginia don't have broadband access at home and twelve percent of Virginia's K-12 students don't have a computer at home. Sixty percent of Virginia's schools are more than forty years old and do not meet modern health and safety standards. The General Assembly has under-funded staffing recommendations made by the Virginia Board of Education for the past decade. The resulting over-reliance on local real-estate taxes has widened opportunity gaps across our state and resulted in staffing standards that allow for part-time principals, deteriorated buildings, varying degrees of technology, no registered nurses and case-loads that exceed the national standard for school counselors, psychologists and social workers.
Take a look at your budget for this year and ask yourself two challenge questions:
- Are we trying to raise money for something the school division should provide?
- Does the fact that we are paying for it create inequity with other schools?
As school divisions work to provide safe in-person instruction and high-quality distance learning, we know that long standing funding and staffing inequities must be addressed at the state level to protect the health of our students and ensure a quality education!
AT NO OTHER TIME IN RECENT HISTORY HAS OUR VOICE BEEN SO NEEDED!
Virginia PTA is setting up meetings with legislators, preparing talking points for you and identifying bills that align with our approved resolutions and priorities. We need your voice and your stories!
LET'S RAISE THE BAR TOGETHER!