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

It’s probably safe to say that no one first joins PTA to be an advocate. You joined PTA because you wanted to know what was going on at your child’s school, because you wanted to help at school, or maybe because you remember your mother being a PTA member back when you were in school.

 

Whatever your reason, it certainly wasn’t to advocate.

 

So as a PTA member, you go to meetings and share your thoughts when the principal asks for ideas on an issue the school is facing. You help run an activity booth at the fall carnival to help raise funds to purchase items that teachers needed in their classrooms. You talk to your child’s teacher when another child was bullying them. You work a shift or two at the book fair because the school library would get extra books after the sale. You do all these things because you want your child’s school to provide the best education possible.

 

And in doing all these things, you’ve been 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.

 

If you can talk to your child’s teacher about a problem they are having in the classroom, you 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 your solution). The approach is the same when you advocate with a school board member, a state legislator, or a member of Congress.

 

The Louisiana  Advocacy Toolkit is designed to help you and your PTA become more effective advocates, whether that advocacy is in your school, in your district, or at the state or national level. It will help you strategically attack an issue, recruit supporters, build coalitions of like-minded groups, structure your arguments, and communicate effectively. It will help you engage your PTA’s members in advocacy and teach you 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. Your PTA has already been involved in advocacy, even if you didn’t call it that. Now, with the LAPTA  Advocacy Toolkit, you can strengthen that advocacy, because when we advocate for change, we make things better not just for our child right now, but for every child going forward.

 

Become an advocate 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 for 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.

LAPTA Toolkit: Advocacy

View or download the entire Advocacy Toolkit - PDF or Word

View or download a specific section within the Advocacy Toolkit:

  • Advocacy Introduction - PDF or Word

  • Advocating on an Issue: Planning - PDF or Word

  • Advocating with Your School Board - PDF or Word

  • Awards - PDF or Word

  • Communications and Social Media- PDF or Word

  • Conducting Candidate or Issue Forums - PDF or Word

  • Forum Timeline - PDF or Word

  • Gateway to Advocacy: Why Advocate? - PDF or Word

  • Implementation: Developing Your Message - PDF or Word

  • Press Release - PDF or Word

  • Raising Public Awareness - PDF or Word

  • Setting Goals - PDF or Word

  • Thank You Letter to Legislator - PDF or Word

  • Using the Media - PDF or Word

  • Voice of Membership - PDF or Word

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
Timeline

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 Advocacy Grants and Application Links

The National PTA Virtual Legislative Convention Grants pay the registration fee for PTA members to virtually attend the National PTA Legislative Convention (LegCon). LegCon is an annual conference where PTA leaders join forces to influence Congress in Washington, DC. The first day is all about introducing the priorities for the year and giving background information. The second day is reserved for meetings with members and staffers.

Grant Questions

  1. How many people want to attend LegCon?

  2. What is/are the name(s) and current PTA positions (if applicable) of those wanting to attend LegCon?

  3. What are the advocacy goals of the Local PTA Unit?

  4. How will the knowledge from LegCon be shared with parents, families, and the community after the convention? 

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The National PTA Virtual Convention Grants pay the registration fee for PTA members to virtually attend the National PTA Convention. Attendees will be delegates representing Louisiana PTA. Experience all that National PTA does behind the scenes for the children of our country. It is an incredible opportunity! 

Grant Questions

  1. How many people want to attend 2023 National PTA Virtual Convention?

  2. What is/are the name(s) and current PTA positions (if applicable) of those wanting to attend 2023 National PTA Virtual Convention?

  3. What are the goals of the Local PTA Unit?

  4. How will the knowledge from 2023 National PTA Virtual Convention be shared with the parents, families, and community after the convention?

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Advocacy Awards & Application Links

Local PTAs can apply for the Outstanding Advocates for Children (OAC) or Be the Voice (BTV) advocacy awards. See the application for requirements and categories of advocacy work. Winners are announced on March 25 at the Centennial Celebration in Baton Rouge.

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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 at an early age are the pillars of Louisiana’s future! 

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