Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tentative Focus Day Agenda

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, is Washington State PTA Focus Day in Olympia, and we need you there, speaking up for kids. Register now.

Why now? Because it is time to make the hard choices. Is it going to be cuts or revenue? Are we really, truly going fund our children’s education, or will we continue to leave essentials like books and maintenance up to fund-raising? Are we going to continue to leave something as basic as a six-period high school day dependent on a local levy passing?

There’s something wrong when parents have to waive signs and pass around the hat just to give kids a bare-bones education.

Our goal for January 24 is to reach every legislator who has a PTA or PTSA in their district. Why? Because they need to decide.
Are they going to live up promises made in 2009 and 2010? Are they going to comply with a court decision that came down in 2012? Are they going to – finally – work through their impasses and give all kids an equitable, basic education that prepares them for work or college?

Tell them it’s time to focus and made the hard choices. Make your appointments today to meet with them on January 24. Get their contact info here

Tentative agenda for Thursday Jan. 24 Focus Day

·         9:30 a.m. – PACKETS AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP. Talking points, leave-behinds
General Administration Building, Capitol campus
·         10:15-10:45 -- TIME TO FOCUS/ADVOCACY TRAINING. What to say, who to talk to, where to go.
General Administration Building, Capitol campus
·         10:45 a.m. to noon --  MEET WITH LEGISLATORS (on your own), optional discussion groups and resource room
Discussion group I, 11-11:30 a.m. – The McCleary ruling and basic education. What is going to happen with funding this year?
Discussion group II, 11:30 a.m. -12 p.m. - Closing the opportunity gaps. How policy can better support all students

·         12:10-12:45 p.m. -- RALLY IN ROTUNDA. “Make the hard choices”

·         1-2:30 p.m. (or whenever you choose to leave). MEET WITH LEGISLATORS (on your own)
Or attend optional information sessions and resource room in the General Administration Building
·         BEFORE YOU LEAVE: Let us know who you met with. Drop off index cards at GA building

Good stuff to know
·         Lunch is at your convenience; meals can be pre-ordered and picked up onsite. You can order when you register
·         DON’T FORGET: Make your appointments to meet with your legislators. Get their contact info here (just call or email; their assistants will set you up)
·         We will have crayons and coloring books on hand for the little ones, but no kids activities or march this year

Our schools are struggling under financial duress. Basic education relies on unstable and inequitable levies – and increasingly, private fund-raising. Promises to fund what kids really need – and schools strive to provide – remain just that. Consider:

             All-day kindergarten is funded for about 1 in 5 children. Promised? Voluntary but available all-day K for all children
             K-3 class sizes range upwards to 30. Promised? 18 students, max
             Money for counselors and librarians: Diverted to cover other expenses
             Maintenance, supplies and operating funds: Still short by half a billion dollars, and counting.
             Enough instructional time in middle and high school to cover a typical 6-period day: Just a promise. And because of that graduation requirements that align with work and college expectations remain on hold.

It’s time Washington steps up and funds the education our children need.

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