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.

TAKE ACTION!

Unless Congress acts, schools are about to experience major budget cuts triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. We need you to contact your federal representatives ASAP to support money for schools. Your action will help prevent layoffs, larger class sizes and the reduction or elimination of important programs and services for our students.

Click here to send a message to your U.S. senators and representatives, and help ensure that robust education funding is included in the next COVID-19 relief package.

Click here to see all of California State PTA’s (and National PTA’s) Action Alerts on our Take Action page.

MONTHLY ADVOCACY WEBINARS

Join California State PTA Director of Legislation Shereen Walter and members of the Legislation Team during our monthly webinar, where we discuss all the latest information.

The webinars take place the first Wednesday of the month from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. (except August 4). Here is the schedule of upcoming webinars:

  • August 4, 2020 (Tuesday)

Webinar registration link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/2338789182473643275

If your computer does not have speakers or you otherwise have trouble hearing the audio once you’ve logged in, mute your speakers and call 1 (631) 992-3221 to hear the discussion. Use attendee PIN number 300-067-555. (Note: you cannot use this phone number to hear the webinar unless you register and log in through the above link first.)

To watch a recording of the most recent webinar (July 1, 2020), click here. To view the presentation from the webinar, click here.

National PTA Legislation Conference and State Advocacy Award

PTA leaders from across California attended the 2020 National PTA Legislative Conference from March 10-12 in Washington D.C. The conference allowed us the opportunity to network with fellow PTA advocates, meet with policymakers, hear PTA advocacy success stories and learn how to shape public policy on Capitol Hill and at home.

Our delegation of 14 from California met with the offices of Senators Feinstein and Harris, as well as the offices of a number of our Congressional representatives. Our talking points focused on the inclusion of schools in any federal infrastructure legislation as well as the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Click here for a copy of the National PTA talking points for the conference.

Director of Legislation Shereen Walter and California State PTA President Celia Jaffe presented a standing-room-only workshop on effective grassroots advocacy techniques as one of the Spotlight presentations being highlighted at the conference.

Carol Kocivar and California State PTA were both honored at the National PTA Advocacy Awards Banquet, held during the conference. Carol, CAPTA’s former president and current legislative advocate, was the recipient of the 2020 Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award. This award is presented to an individual PTA member who, through their leadership and advocacy efforts, affected federal policy priorities within PTA’s annual Public Policy Agenda. Carol’s advocacy includes work on increasing investments in quality public education, school infrastructure, public school choice and charter accountability, as well as safe and supportive school environments.

California State PTA was recognized with the Outstanding State Advocacy Award for our efforts in raising awareness about healthier school start times and securing the passage of SB 328, the Late School Start bill. The legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Newsom in October, requires that middle schools in California start no earlier than 8:00 a.m., and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. (see below for more).

LATER SCHOOL START TIMES BILL SB 328 SIGNED INTO LAW BY GOVERNOR

Congratulations PTA – Advocacy in Action!

Senate Bill 328, sponsored by California State PTA and co-authored by State Senator Anthony Portantino, has been signed into law by Governor Newsom.

Signed on October 14, 2019, this law will prohibit middle schools from beginning their school day before 8:00 a.m., and high schools from beginning their school day before 8:30 a.m.

“The California State PTA was an early champion of this bill, which represents an enormous victory for youth across the Golden State,” said California State PTA President Celia Jaffe. “Our members believe later school start times address the very real biological changes that every teenager experiences. The research is clear that sleep deprivation is an epidemic among adolescents, and those who get sufficient sleep not only perform better academically, but are also less likely to be involved in traffic accidents, have a reduced risk of obesity and depression, and have overall better quality of life.”

“We recognize that this bill will require structural changes in the way schools operate, which is why we worked with legislators to ensure that SB 328 provides a three-year period for local districts to determine how to best implement these changes in their own communities,” she added. “Despite the challenges posed to schools, we feel the passage of this important bill puts kids’ needs first. Governor Newsom’s decision to change school start times will improve the health, safety and academic success of students, and PTA members across the state are so pleased to see that the efforts of the current and past board, as well as the outstanding advocacy efforts of our local leaders, helped this bill become law. We thank Senator Portantino for championing this worthy issue.”

Learn more:

For questions, please reach out to Director of Legislation Shereen Walter at swalter@capta.org or Executive Director Sherry Skelly Griffith at sgriffith@capta.org.

FIND YOUR BALLOT

STATE BALLOT MEASURES

California State PTA supports Proposition 15, the 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).

LEARN MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

Take a look at the latest Federal legislative updates from California State PTA including updates from National PTA.

LEARN MORE

ADVOCACY GOALS

Advocate for:

  • The expansion of quality preschool programs
  • Programs that promote the health and welfare of all children and families
  • Stable and sustainable public education funding comparable to the top ten states
  • A full curriculum for all students that includes P.E. and the arts
  • Legislation to reduce the effects of poverty on children and families

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AS A PTA ADVOCACY CHAIR

If you are the new advocacy chair or legislative officer for your PTA, thank you for taking this important position. PTA has a proud history of advocating for pro-grams and legislation that help children be safe, healthy and successful. Now you are a part of that vital mission. If you have never done this job before, you may wonder how to begin. The state legislative process is complex and the issues can be confusing. There is a lot to learn. But California State PTA is here to make your job as easy as possible!

An invaluable resource is Ed100.org, a free online course on California education, broken into brief lessons. Encourage your members to access this course to become informed parents and to win possible prizes for your school.

Fourth District PTA has great resources for you and your members. Check out their advocacy newsletter, including a guide to being an advocacy chair, and use the information for your own PTA!

ADVOCACY, SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOU

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!

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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 legislation@capta.org.

Get Involved

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