PTAC Advocacy Guidelines

The Palo Alto Council of Parent Teachers Associations (PTAC) can lend its support to causes by writing letters, co-sponsoring events, and engaging in advocacy.  Want PTAC to support something you care about?  We want to hear about it.

Things to think about when asking PTAC to take a position on an issue:

Is it related to children, schools, families, or the Palo Alto community?

PTA is the oldest children’s advocacy group in the country.  We generally take positions on issues related to children and families, and that extends to community concerns, education, family engagement, and health.

Is it a non-partisan issue?

PTAC is political but not partisan. What that means is we endorse or oppose issues, but not candidates.

We take positions on legislation, bond measures, parcel taxes,  ballot measures, school district policies, and  federal, state, city and county policies impacting our students.

We can co-sponsor events that are not affiliated with any specific party.  For example, we co-host events that invite all candidates for school board to meet and talk to voters.  We also co-sponsor and support events that are educational, such as programs related to health.

Is it consistent with prior positions taken by PTAC, the Sixth District PTA, or the state-wide PTA?

If you are asking us to follow up on a position we have taken in the past, such as writing a second letter on the same issue, we can generally do so without having to put the issue to a vote at a Palo Alto PTA Council meeting.  If the state and/or district PTA has made a recommendation or taken a position on an issue, our council needs to be in alignment with that position. You can find our recent positions here and state-wide PTA’s positions here.

Is there sufficient time for us to take action?

If it is a new or different position for us, we need to consider it at a General PTA Council Meeting, so that the representatives from each school in Palo Alto have a chance to hear about and vote on the position.  These meetings are generally a few times a year, and only during the school year, so we often need a significant lead time.  You can find the calendar of our meetings here.

PTA Advocacy at Schools

At PTA meetings held on school grounds, you may advocate, and hand out PTA advocacy materials, educating members on an issue and urging them to take action.

On school grounds, when NOT at a PTA meeting, your PTA may distribute “informational” materials but not “advocacy” materials.. Examples:

  • “PTAC supports the parcel tax” is informational
  • “PTAC encourages you to vote yes on the parcel tax” is advocacy
  • “State PTA supports funding increases for K-12 education. There will be a school funding rally on X date” is information
  • “Stand up for more school funding! Join us at a rally on X date” is advocacy.

Add a PTA Advocacy Position to your PTA

If your PTA does not have a VP of Advocacy, you can add the position by  a standing rule appointment (effective immediately) and later make the position permanent though a by-laws amendment.

If your PTA has an unfilled VP of Advocacy Position, “Just List It”! List the open position on your website, in your eNews, Friday Folders, PTA newsletters, and announce the open position at General  Meetings and Back to School nights.

 

If you would like to discuss an advocacy position with PTAC, please contact president@paloaltopta.org, or the VP of Advocacy at advocacy@paloaltopta.org or the Vice President  whose issue area most closely aligns with the topic you’d like to discuss.

We look forward to hearing from you.