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Advocate for All Children

Image by Luke Chesser

What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

Jane Goodall

Getting Started

In 1897 when Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst decided that someone should speak out on behalf of children, they founded the National Congress of Mothers which later became PTA. For more than 125 years, PTA advocacy has resulted in many changes such as creation of kindergarten classes, child labor laws, public health service, juvenile justice system, mandatory immunization, and the school lunch program. Today, PTA continues to advocate for all children, to press for adequate, equitable, and sustainable school funding, to create safe and healthy communities, and to make every child’s potential a reality. Become an advocate at the Local PTA or by joining Louisiana PTA and National PTA to add your voice to PTA’s one voice for every child. Advocacy is what makes PTA different from other parent groups. Each of us desires the best for our children. Reaching out to other children ensures that all children benefit from our efforts. Creating communities that are child friendly places promotes their health and wellbeing where they can prosper. Why Advocate? It is probably safe to say that no one first joins PTA to be an advocate. Most initially go to meetings and share their thoughts when the principal asks for ideas on an issue the school is facing. They help run an activity booth at the fall carnival to help raise funds to purchase items that teachers need in their classrooms. They talk to the child’s teacher when another child was bullying them. They work a shift or two at the book fair because the school library would get extra books after the sale. They do these things because they want the child’s school to provide the best education possible. And in doing all these things, they were involved in advocacy, because at the most basic level, advocacy is simply working to make things better. Sometimes that involves speaking to someone with the power to make a change. Sometimes it is raising funds to support that change. By talking to the child’s teacher about a problem in the classroom, they already know the basics of advocacy. Talk to the person who can change the situation, share what the problem is, and ask them to fix it (possibly with the solution). The approach is the same when advocating with a school board member, a state legislator, or a member of Congress. The LAPTA Toolkit: Advocacy is designed to help the PTA become a more effective advocate, whether that advocacy is in the school, in the district, or at the state or national level. It will help to strategically attack an issue, recruit supporters, build coalitions of like-minded groups, structure the arguments, and communicate effectively. It will help to engage the PTA’s members in advocacy and teach how to take advocacy success from the local level to the state or national level. PTA was founded on the idea of advocating for children at school, in the home, and in their community. The Local PTA Unit has already been involved in advocacy, even if they did not call it that. Now, they can strengthen that advocacy. When PTAs advocate for change, they make things better not just for their child right now, but for every child going forward.

VoterVoice - Coming Soon

VoterVoice helps people directly influence public policy that influences children and education matters by connecting directly with lawmakers and advocates. LAPTA will offer this important service to our members very soon. It will help members sign up for alerts, find specific legislation, and contact relevant officials, and view the voting record of officials. VoterVoice will:

  • Allow members to advocate on critical issues.

  • Engage more members in grassroot campaigns.

  • Move the needle on the memberships' main concerns.

  • Measure results of campaign performance.

  • Minimize the effort it takes for members to communicate with lawmakers.

Advocacy Awards & Application Links

Local PTA Units submit their advocacy efforts to LAPTA who offers a first and second place award. There are countless ways a PTA can advocate! See suggestions at the application link or in the LAPTA Toolkit Section 11: Advocacy.

Advocacy Award for
Local PTA Units

Deadline: March 1, 2024
Announced: April 20, 2024
Quantity Offered: 2

LAPTA accepts applications for our Student Advocacy Award program to recognize students who help to truly enhance public education. Students who are involved with civic engagement are the pillars of Louisiana’s future! 

Advocacy Award for

Deadline: March 1, 2024
Announced: April 20, 2024
Quantity Offered: 2

Election Guidance & Tools from National PTA

Nonprofits, Voting
and Elections

 Explains the actions that nonprofits can take surrounding voter participation and member election education. 

Voter Engagement

This timeline will help your PTA organize itself for its election related community engagement activities. 

Permissible Activities Checklist

 A complete overview of what nonprofits can and cannot do around elections. 

Candidate Appearances

 Provides guidelines on inviting candidates to appear at your events. 

Hosting a Candidate Forum

An in-depth guide on planning a candidate forum, including what nonprofits can and cannot do. 

Nonprofits and Ballot Measures

 An overview of what actions nonprofits can take around ballot measures. 

Education Questions for Political Candidates

A set of questions to ask political candidates around education issues. 

Operating Guidance from LAPTA

When a PTA Member runs for

Public Office.

LAPTA Toolkit: Advocacy

Scroll through the PDF Viewer or download the entire Advocacy Toolkit as a Word File or PDF. 


133  Introduction to Advocacy

134  Gateway to Advocacy: Why Advocate?

134  Advocating on an Issue: Planning

135  Setting Goals

136  Raising Public Awareness

136  Conducting Candidate or Issue Forums

138  Forum Timeline

139  Implementation: Developing Your Message

140  The Voice of Membership

140  Using the Media

141  How to Write a Press Release

141  Sample Thank You Letter to Legislator

142  Advocating with Your School Board

143  Advocacy Award for Local PTA Units

144 Advocacy Awards for Students

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