The foundation of the PTA is advocacy.  As the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation, PTA provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child and the best tools to help their children be safe, healthy, and successful - in school and in life.  

In Washington State, the PTA has been a leader in engaging all levels of government to improve the lives of all children and their families.  Members of Briarwood PTA play an important role in this process.  Every year, we send delegates to the two major PTA Advocacy events:  Legislative Assembly and Focus Day.  Throughout the year, we keep members informed of relevant legislative issues affecting the Issaquah School District, provide updates on the ongoing legislative session, provide relevant information about and arrange meetings with our local State Legislatures, and promote voter registration for students who have recently turned 18 and for all voters in local, state, and national elections.

Get legislative news and keep up on WSPTA's advocacy at http://wsptagrassroots.blogspot.com. You can sign up for email updates at the blog site.

Legislative Calls to Action:

Periodically, as legislative issues arise that benefit from contact with legislators, PTSA issues a "call to action." Sometimes the "call" requests a trip to Olympia; most of the time, the "call" asks you to phone the Legislative hotline, 1-800-562-6000, or send an email to your representatives and/or senator. (You can find out who they are by clicking on http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/)

Current Calls to Action: 

2/1/2017:  Our schools are facing "the levy cliff." What does that mean?  It means Issaquah schools stand to lose $7 million in funding (which Issaquah voters already approved) next school year. It means that Issaquah would have to lay off teachers to prepare for this budget shortfall.  The uncertainty of future budgeting and funding makes it extremely difficult to recruit new teachers, while we face a nationwide teacher shortage.

We have an urgent opportunity to avoid teacher layoffs and program cuts that would undermine our children's education and we need you to make calls right now. We need to flood Senate offices with calls urging them to bring this bill to delay the levy cliff, HB 1059, to the floor and then to vote yes on it. We should also tell friends and relatives living in other legislative districts to contact their legislators as well.

If you need a script: "Hello, I am your constituent from [name your city or town]. I need you to vote to bring HB 1059 to the floor and vote for the bill. We must delay the levy cliff so that teachers don't get fired and students don't lose important classes and programs they need to succeed. I know you have the power to save our schools from financial peril and I need you to lead on this."

The bill to delay the levy cliff is an important part of fully funding our public schools. If this bill doesn't pass, districts across the state will have to fire teachers and slash important programs for students. This is because school districts would lose part of their funds on January 1, 2018 - but the legislature does not have to deliver full funding for schools under the McCleary decision until September 1, 2018. 

Ongoing: Amply Fund Basic Education:

This past Spring, our Local PTA voted on a resolution, the  "Paramount Duty Resolution" to raise awareness of the need for WA State to fund basic education, and to call upon our elected officials to swiftly fulfill the paramount duty.  If you would like to read more about the resolution, here is a link to their website: http://waschoolexcellence.org/?s=resolution. Our Local PTA leaders would like for us to send letters expressing our belief that basic education must be funded now. Below are links to the our local legislators, the House Education Committee Members, and the Senate Early Learning Committee.

Find your PTA's legislators: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder

House Education Committee: http://leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/ED/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx

All letters can be sent to: P.O. Box 40600, Olympia, WA 98504

Senate Early Learning and k-12 Education Committee: http://leg.wa.gov/senate/committees/edu/pages/membersStaff.aspx

All letters can be sent to P.O. Box 40466, Olympia, WA 98504

Here are many websites that summarize and compare current education funding proposals; here are two:

From Washington State PTA: http://wsptagrassroots.blogspot.com/2017/01/comparison-of-education-funding.html

From League of Education Voters: http://educationvoters.org/2017/01/27/education-funding-proposal-side-by-side/

For more information about Advocacy, contact the Briarwood Elementary Advocacy Chair, Kristen Slocum at: kristens@johnlscott.com.

 

Learn more about the following Advocacy-related topics below:

Legislative Assembly:  October 20-21, 2017, Tacoma

Focus Day: January TBD, 2018, Olympia

Washington State Legislative Report

Issaquah School District Levies and Bonds

National PTA Advocacy

WA State PTA Advocacy

Issaquah PTA Council Advocacy


 

Legislative Assembly: October 20-21, 2017, Tacoma

Legislative Assembly is an annual gathering of PTA/PTSA representatives from all over the State of Washington.   The next Legislative Assembly will take place on Oct 20-21, 2016, in Tacoma.  Delegates from Briarwood PTA and from all over the state of Washington will meet to establish "priority" issues that become the Washington State PTA two year, legislative platform.

Legislative Platform:

The Washington State PTA legislative platform is a two-year platform to mirror the Washington state legislative cycle. On the even-numbered years, the new platform is voted on by members at the legislative assembly in the fall. The top five issues become our short-term platform and consist of our priority issues when advocating throughout the year. Other issues are placed on an “also supported” list. During the odd-numbered years, members vote to amend current issues or to add new, emerging issues to the also supported list.

Top 5 Legislative Priorities for 2017

  1. Social Emotional Learning
  2. Amply Fund Basic Education
  3. Closing the Opportunity Gap
  4. Standards for Para-Educators
  5. Breakfast After the Bell

More "Top 5" details https://www.wastatepta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2017_Legislative_Platform.pdf

Additional details and resources can be found on the Washington State PTA Advocacy webpage.

Focus Day: January TBD, 2018, Olympia

PTA members from across the state joined with several other advocacy groups in Olympia January 16, 2017 to rally and meet with legislators. 

There was an amazing turnout of around 5,500 people, all there to urge our legislature to fulfill its paramount duty to amply fund basic education for all children residing in Washington State. While discussions focused on education funding, we also talked to our legislators about the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Breakfast After the Bell, Closing the Opportunity Gap, and Standards for Para-educators.

It's a great opportunity for community service hours for students, and time to us to all advocate for our kid's education! For more information click here.

Washington State Legislative Report

State Budget: Check the Issaquah School District website for up to date information on how the state budget will affect our schools. 

Information about the State Legislature can be found on the Washington State Legislature website.

If you would like to contact your State legislators, you can call or email them.
Locate email contact information for your legislators at http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/home.aspx (click on the "Find Your District" tab, enter your address and a map of your legislative district along with the email addresses for your legislators will be displayed). Leave a voice message by phoning the Legislative Hotline, 1.800.562.6000.

School District Levies and Bonds

Levies are typically voted upon every four years. Bonds are submitted to the voters on an as-needed basis. For the latest information about levies visit the Issaquah School District website.

Volunteers  for Issaquah Schools (VIS) is an organization that organizes campaigns to pass levies and bonds in the Issaquah School District. VIS is on Facebook. Both students and parents can join their own Facebook groups: Issaquah Students for Issaquah Schools (ISIS) and Volunteers for Issaquah Schools (VIS). Join today and keep up on the latest VIS news.

If you have any questions about VIS, visit http://www.visvote.org.

National and Washington State PTA Advocacy

For more information on the National PTA's advocacy efforts and who to contact, visit their advocacy page.

For more information and who to contact about Washington State PTA's advocacy issues, check out the Advocacy section of the Washington State PTA website.  

Issaquah Council PTA Advocacy

Your Council PTA also has an Advocacy/Legislative contact and webpage.  Click here for more information.