The teachers at Ballard High School issued this resolution regarding the Washington State PTA’s plank on charter schools:
Whereas the Washington State Parent Teacher Student Association leadership has turned to actively promoting charter schools, despite their own survey of their membership that found a majority opposed to charters, and
Whereas the SEA has passed resolutions opposing charter schools, and
Whereas teachers are vastly underrepresented and now misrepresented in the PTSA, and
Whereas the PTSA should remove the T from their name, because the PTSA, in allying with those who would undermine a free and equitable a public education, no longer should claim to represent teachers,
Be it resolved that the SEA send a letter to the state PTSA condemning the Washington State PTSA’s recent vote to support Charter school legislation in WA highlighting the above mentioned points.
Be it further resolved that the SEA send copies of said letter to the Seattle Times as a press release with further information detailing SEA’s multiple statements of opposition to Charter schools.
Then the teachers at Ballard High School in Seattle came up with a way to pay dues into the school PTSA and not have their dues kicked up to the state level to fund charter legislation.
To follow is a statement from teachers at Ballard High School:
At Ballard High School, the PTSA has set up a fund specifically for teachers to contribute financially to the PTSA. In paying into this, teachers can demonstrate their involvement with and appreciation for the PTSA’s work on behalf of their school.
It is understood that any teacher (or parent) paying into this fund is not an official PTSA member, and therefore lacks voting rights. At Ballard, at least, there are so very few controversial PTSA agenda items that this is, for most teachers, not an important issue. In fact, only a very few teachers participate actively in PTSA, although over 70 were members last year.
Understand that each school has a minimum number of dues paying members required to constitute a PTSA, and if teacher’s official memberships are needed to meet that minimum, we strongly encourage teachers to join and pay dues in the regular way. However, once that minimum is reached, we encourage local PTSAs to then cap the “official” memberships and allow everyone joining the option of participating “unofficially” in the way described earlier. There is no need to send additional dues to the State organization beyond the minimum.
Furthermore, we still encourage teachers to actively participate in PTSA, including attending and voting at state-wide meetings where charter school agendas are being pushed by state PTSA leadership. Very few teachers are participating at this level, and more teachers being involved could help divert the PTSA’s charter-school agenda. Local PTSAs can send teacher representatives to these meetings. We encourage staff at each school to select a teacher to actively participate in PTSA by paying dues, and attending all local and state meetings.