The Pioneers of Child Advocacy in Colorado
As Colorado’s original and largest parent engagement group, Colorado PTA represents a lot of voices—and legislators recognize this fact when Colorado PTA takes a stand on an issue. When it comes to making positive change in Colorado’s schools and families, Colorado PTA is a formidable force with more than a century-old track record in being an influential partner in state and local governments.
Some of the highlights of Colorado PTA’s century of activity include:
- Establishing a Better Babies Movement, focused on promoting infant care (1914)
- Initiating an Act to create and establish a Child Welfare Bureau in the State of Colorado (1919)
- Supporting public education in rural communities in Colorado (1922)
- Fighting for an increase in public school funding (1937)
- Promoting inclusiveness by establishing the first Spanish-speaking PTA in Colorado (1937)
- Establishing a Girls Loan Fund for advanced education (1946)
- Recruiting over 126,000 members (1953)
- Promoting first Project Head Start program (1967)
- Establishing the Reflections Art program, which was adopted by national PTA (1969)
- Spreading awareness about the link between good nutrition and learning (1970)
- Advocating for seat-belt safety (1982)
- Serving as an ambassador for drug/alcohol awareness initiatives (1988)
- Opposing school vouchers as a violation of Colorado’s Constitution which resulted in the victorious 2003 lawsuit, Colorado PTA v. Owens (1993)
- Declaring an anti-discrimination clause including LGBT community (1994)
- Fighting for releasing volunteer crossing guards from civil liability (1996)
- Championing Amendment 23, which requires an annual increase in K-12 funding (inc. special education and transportation) by inflation +1 percent through 2010 and inflation thereafter (2000)
Advocacy is the active support of an idea or a cause. In order to operate effectively and advance its mission, a nonprofit should advocate on behalf of the people it serves, its organization, and the common interests of the nonprofit sector.
Every year, Colorado PTA plays an active role in advocating for our children statewide. To allow every child to reach his/her potential, Colorado PTA has set goals to realize a fully-funded, quality education system for all children; updated school nutritional standards; school and internet safety; quality and affordable after-school programs; better access to and preparation for college; small class sizes and more. Contact our Public Policy Director or your local PTA Advocacy Liaison for more information!
What does a PTA Local Unit Advocacy Liaison do?
A “liaison” is someone who is a channel of communication between groups of people.
Building an Advocacy Toolkit!
Questions about how to get started in becoming a PTA Advocacy Leader. National PTA has resources available to help you build your Advocacy Toolkit! Everything from “How to Lobby the PTA Way” to “Conducting Visits with Members of Congress.” So what are you waiting for? Click the link to learn all you can about being an Advocate for Children!
Serve as a link between your local PTA unit and the state PTA.
When the Council, Region, or state PTA shares information with you regarding legislative and advocacy issues, make sure it gets distributed through your unit’s usual communication method (i.e., newsletter, email, or website) and share this information at your PTA’s regular business meeting – much like the report given by your membership chair or treasurer.
Take an active interest in programs and policies at your school.
A good way to do this is by working with your School Accountability Committee (SAC), either by serving as the PTA liaison to the SAC or by sharing information with the person who is. The SAC’s work is largely focused on the school’s and district’s achievement data, the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP), and the school’s and district’s budget.
Familiarize yourself with the 6 National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.
Because so much of PTA’s work is centered around them, make a note to pay extra attention to Standard 4 (Speaking Up for Every Child) and Standard 5 (Sharing Power) – National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.
Other Advocacy Opportunities:
We understand everyone’s time and interests vary. Advocacy doesn’t stop with the Basics. If you have the time and interest, here are other ways to advocate and become more involved.
- Take an active interest in key issues affecting children and youth.
- Be an informed voter.
- Attend school board meetings and/or be aware of district policies.
- Attend meetings of the District Accountability Committee.
- Attend the Colorado PTA Legislative Conference.
- Know who your legislators are at the state and national levels and who represents you at the city and county levels.
- Know how elected officials representing you vote on key issues, and visit with some of them.
- Attend some candidate forums, issue forums, and/or public meetings sponsored by your elected officials.
- Get on email distribution lists for legislative action alerts, and/or join organizations that advocate on children’s issues.
- Join the National PTA’s “PTA Takes Action” (Current Engagements).
- Respond to PTA Action Alerts.
- Speak up at public meetings on PTA’s issues and positions.
Colorado PTA Press Releases!
National PTA Founders Day
Founders’ Day (February 17) is when we celebrate the legacy and work of our founders—Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Selena Sloan Butler—to better the lives of every child in education, health and safety. It is a time to reflect and take pride in our achievements, and renew our commitment to be a:
- powerful voice for all children;
- relevant resource for parents; and
- strong advocate for public education.
Our founders represented women of imagination and courage. They had a simple idea—to improve the lives and future of all children. They understood the power of individual action, worked beyond the accepted barriers of their day, and took action to change the world for all children.