Focus Areas

Advocacy for children and families


One of the most important roles of California State PTA is to create and support laws that improve the lives of all California children.


California State PTA Sponsors AB 2878 to Strengthen Family Engagement in Schools

Family engagement is a key predictor of student success. That’s why California State PTA is sponsoring Assembly Bill 2878 by Assemblymember Rocky Chávez (San Diego).

Research shows authentic family engagement leads to reduced absenteeism, decreased dropout rates, increased student achievement and increased graduation rates which lead to young adults who are college and career ready.

This bill demonstrates a commitment to connecting families, schools and communities and to improving student outcomes. AB 2878 seeks to use research-based guidelines to define what authentic family engagement could look like in the Education Code to help guide schools. The suggested activities have been developed using research-based family engagement practices and standards, including, but not limited to, the PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. It could also include:

  • Outreach in multiple languages
  • Outreach to parents and families that are underrepresented in the school, school district or county office of education
  • Outreach strategies that are diverse and innovative.

Adding Family Engagement to LCFF Priority #3 would better reflect the true engagement local education agencies could implement, based on their local needs. It’s time to engage all parents and families for the success of our students, our schools and our state.

Learn more:

Be on the lookout for upcoming information so you can help keep family engagement moving forward, and be sure to share your family-engagement success stories with us so we can spread the word in the Capitol and in our communities and across California! Thank you for all that you do for our kids – it makes a difference.

For questions, please reach out to Director of Legislation Lea Darrah at or Executive Director Sherry Skelly Griffith at



California State PTA supports California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act and encourages PTA members to get involved in the campaign. This initiative will change how commercial and industrial property is taxed and raise between $6 billion and 10 billion to support our schools (40 percent) and other local governments (60 percent).


Congressman DeSaulnier Recognized as National Education Leader

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) honored Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) with the 2018 Congressional Voice for Children Award for outstanding leadership and commitment to improving education and outcomes for students. This bipartisan, bicameral award is given to two Members of Congress each year. Read the full press release.

(Pictured above: Congressman DeSaulnier receives 2018 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National PTA. L to R: Congressman DeSaulnier; Celia Jaffe, President-elect, California PTA; Sherry Skelly Griffith, Executive Director; California PTA; Jim Accomando, President, National PTA.)

“Learning does not start and stop in the classroom. When parents, teachers and the entire community work together to ensure all students receive a quality education, we are setting future generations up to succeed and thrive,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “I am honored to receive the Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National PTA for our work on behalf of our nation’s schools and students. I look forward to continuing to work with the dedicated members of the PTA in California and around the country to support teachers, improve our schools, and prioritize student success.”


On March 14, PTA members and leaders from across the state – and throughout the nation – made their voices heard. Phone calls, social media posts and emails flooded the inboxes of federal lawmakers to demand an end to gun violence. In addition, California State PTA leaders addressed gun violence, school safety and mental health issues with legislators in Washington D.C. as part of the 2018 National PTA Legislation Conference. The power of PTA was heard loud and clear – thank you!

More information:

Fringe news outlets published stories incorrectly stating California State PTA’s positions on gun-violence prevention efforts and student demonstrations. California PTA did not organize any marches or student walkouts.

Gun violence is a public-health crisis that affects us all – most of all, our children and youth. And, it’s preventable. California State PTA will be addressing gun violence, school safety and mental health issues with federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. on March 13-15 during the 2018 National PTA Legislation Conference. We are also asking for your help to “call out” your federal legislators to demand stronger gun-violence prevention legislation. View the action alert.

California State PTA supports the rights of students to express themselves on campus through organized demonstrations, but believes that care must be taken to ensure the orderly operation of the school is not disrupted and the physical safety of students is not threatened. Leaving during school hours to attend an off-campus demonstration places the student outside the safety zone of the school and unnecessarily jeopardizes that school’s education funding. We are aware of several student demonstrations scheduled in the coming days and weeks and have provided guidance for local PTAs that wish to support student voices. View guidance information.

Additional Resources:


  • Support adequate funding for public education by educating our members and policy makers and advocating for legislation to bring California within the top 10 states in per pupil funding
  • Promote schools as a safe and welcoming environment for all students, families and communities and support children’s health and welfare in all aspects of their lives
  • Support and protect high-quality public education from efforts that would weaken this vital foundation of our democracy
  • Advocate for authentic and measurable family-engagement standards in education policy.



Amplifying the PTA voice is easy with the new Social Media Advocacy Chart. Tweet post or share anything in the green column. Think twice before sharing items from the yellow sections and do not share anything from a PTA account if it came from the red column.

Use social media to lift up PTA – you are an advocate and we need your voice!


Volunteers Make a Difference

“Volunteers are at the heart of PTA advocacy. We speak up for all children and families to make a difference at the local, regional, state and national level.” — Lea Darrah, 2017-2019 Director of Legislation

PTA volunteer legislative advocates representing the broad scope of the organization closely monitor pending legislation and testify at public hearings to ensure our voice is heard. The advocates include the director of legislation, state advocates, a federal advocate and consultants with specialized skills. They meet with elected officials and policy-makers, speak at meetings of the California Legislature and carefully monitor both state and federal legislation. Advocacy focus areas include education funding and policy, community and school safety, juvenile justice, child care and early education, children’s health and other issues affecting kids and youth.

Volunteer advocates also analyze statewide ballot measures and determine California State PTA’s position, based upon convention resolutions and other PTA authority. For questions or more information about our legislative advocacy program, please contact the Director of Legislation at

Get Involved

There are several ways you can get involved in our advocacy efforts and help make a difference: