Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ready, set, focus

Advocates heading to Olympia

Take Action: Will they defer schools, again?
Agenda, speaker lineup below

Washington State PTA members will hit the state Capitol on January 24. Our goal: Reach every legislator who has a PTA or PTSA in their district. The Parent Teacher Association advocates for children's well-being and education, and our members have important insight to share about what children need to thrive.

Our main message: Implement and pay for basic education, as promised in 2009 and the basic education funding bill, HB 2261.

The day's to-do is simple:
  • Take our preprinted cards, jot down a personal note and deliver the cards to each person's representatives and senator.
  • Join the group in the Rotunda at noon.
  • Let us know who you met with, and what resources you need to continue advocating. Drop off the enclosed form before leaving.
Can't make it to Olympia? Send an Action Alert. We set up a pre-written note that you can click and send. You can edit it or write your own. The emails automatically go to your legislators.

Here's an advocacy tip: If you can, personalize any and all Action Alerts. What you have to say and share is what is important to your legislator, and really ultimately what will persuade them to take action one way or the other.

This year our "home spot" is the General Administration Building auditorium (on the corner of Water St. SW and 11th Ave SE, just north and east of the Temple of Justice) and the rally is inside, under the Rotunda. Campus map

The day's agenda:

9:30 a.m. Packet pickup  (We have leave-behind cards, maps, and office information for your legislators). General Administration Building

10:15-10:45 – Welcome and Time to Focus training: How to speak to your legislator; who to talk to; where to go. General Administration Auditorium

10:45-noon – Meet with legislators and deliver postcard messages. Or …

11 a.m. – A discussion on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support in the General Administration Building Auditorium

11-11:25 a.m. – What can we expect on funding? A small-group discussion with legislators on the McCleary ruling and paying for 2009's House Bill 2261 -- also called the basic education funding bill. (Chairs of Senate Ways and Means and House Appropriations will join us along with other legislators). O’Brien 102, briefing room. (Note: Limited capacity)

11:30- 11:55 a.m. – What can we expect on policy? A small-group discussion with legislators about strategies to close the opportunity gaps and improve outcomes for all students. (Chair of the House Education Committee and the House leader on education and opportunity will join us). O’Brien 102, briefing room. (Note: Limited capacity)

Noon to 1 – Under the Rotunda. We asked leaders: What were your thoughts in 2009 when you helped pass HB 2261, and what are your thoughts going forward, especially in the context of last year's McCleary ruling.

We’ve got a great lineup of leaders ready to share their thoughts: House Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan; Senator Majority Coalition Leader Sen. Rodney Tom; House Deputy Majority Leader for Education and Opportunity Rep. Marcie Maxwell; House Majority Caucus Chair Rep. Eric Pettigrew; Senate Ways and Means Chair Sen. Andy Hill; House Appropriations Chair Rep. Ross Hunter. Plus, the governor's chief of staff and former Renton schools superintendent, Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel, and our state schools superintendent, Randy Dorn.
1-2:30 p.m. -- Meet with legislators and deliver postcard messages. Or …

Join us in the General Administration Building for an update on the McCleary ruling and discussions on the policies behind Washington State PTA’s 2013 platform.

New this year: Distance isn't stopping some advocates; they're setting up phone and video conferences. Focus Day is free and empowering. It just takes a call, an email, or a visit to advocate for children's well-being and education.

Our talking points:

  • Refocus Olympia on our youth. Pay for basic education and fully implement the K-12  funding plan adopted in 2009 (House Bill 2261)
  • Support children in their foundational years (up to grade 3)
  • Meet students  where they’re at  and align resources to their learning needs
  • Prepare teens to transition into work,  college or training, and pay for a full six periods  in middle school and high school
  • Stop practices that drive kids to drop out, and adopt proven ones that keep kids in school, learning and thriving
  • Attract, prepare, and  support educators; hold districts accountable; and partner (truly) with families and the local community
  • Make education paramount and raise stable, ample revenue for both schools and programs that keep children healthy and safe
 You can find all of our platform issues here. Click on the titles to take you to policy papers for each.
Here's to the start of an advocacy-filled legislative session!
- Ramona Hattendorf, government relations coordinator, WSPTA

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