The motto of the PTA is “Every child, one voice”.
That sounds nice enough and I can understand the meaning that all children are represented by one organization but they are not. There is inequity and inequality. It also promotes the idea that the PTA stands for all children and parents but they do not yet it is an effective tool to use when these PTA representatives meet with our legislators. The meaning being that whatever the PTA promotes is what all parents and students want but again we know that’s not the case.
Let’s start at the beginning of the membership process. When contacting PTA’s in Seattle to promote my classes as part of the school’s enrichment program, I noticed that there were several schools that did not have PTA’s. These schools were in the financially depressed, mostly minority areas. If there was a PTA, there might be two officers and little to no activities being promoted such as fund-raising. In Seattle with the alternative schools, there are site councils made up of parents that have a similar function.
According to one PAA parent in Spokane, Washington there are only 5 schools that have PTA’s and they are in the higher income neighborhoods. According to this Spokane parent:
Most of our schools are PTG, or PTO, having gone that way a few years back, due to the $5.00 FEES charged in the PTA. Parents made this change as they wanted all the money to go to the kids and schools. These organizations wouldn’t even be allowed to vote. So the only folks that could vote from Spokane are higher income.
That leaves many Spokane parents with no voice in this matter, even though charter legislation would have the greatest effect on their low-income neighborhood schools.
I checked the schools in Tacoma by going to the websites of the elementary schools and found one or two schools that had PTA’s.
And as I stated in an earlier post, many schools that have PTA’s will not be able to attend this two-day legislative session to vote on the PTA platform due to financial reasons. A day off from work if the parent is working, the cost of childcare, a hotel room, the registration fee, transportation and food can be cost prohibitive to many struggling parents and these days just about 99% of us are struggling.
It would be helpful if the Washington State PTA (WSPTA) provided a list of schools represented statewide at this statewide legislative session.
And on the issue of the WSPTA charter school proposal, it is interesting to note that the only issue that will have a panel providing pro’s and con’s at the PTSA legislation session is whether the sale of alcohol should be privatized or not and yet there will be no panel discussion on whether our schools should be privatized. According to Ramona Hattendorf’s e-mail describing the PTA’s legislative session agenda regarding the proposed bill on the sale of alcohol:
I-1183, Privatizing the Sale of Spirits. A Panel Discussion
We have invited both pro and con campaigns to present and take questions.
There will be no panel discussion of the pro’s and con’s of what is for parents, students and teachers, a far more important subject, the privatization of our public school system in the state of Washington.
The PTA legislative session starts today and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out for the Washington State PTA and Stand for Children.