Come September 3, the Bellevue School District reopened its doors to the students. With students back in school, the parents now start planning of ways to support their child’s education.
One important way to support your child is to join your local Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Washington State PTA is an association with a 100+ year history of promoting the well-being and education of all children. It was founded with the vision that every child’s potential will become a reality and its mission was to be a powerful voice for children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and an advocate for the well-being and education of all children.
A Brief History of Accomplishments of the PTA:
- 1930’s -- When the Great Depression hit the country in the early 1930s, nearly every PTA in Washington State embarked on programs to feed and clothe children to keep them healthy and make it possible for them to stay in school. Some PTAs even provided hot lunches to the entire school in fear that some needy child might be missed. Other PTAs provided breakfasts as well when they found out that some of the children were not having any meals from one lunch to the next.
- 1933 -- Upon the legalization of liquor, the Washington State PTA helped establish laws preventing the giving and sale of liquor to minors, preventing the presence of minors in places where liquor was sold, and drinking and driving.
- 1940’s -- America became involved in World War II and PTAs formed war emergency committees and joined with other civic, state and national groups to provide for the common defense and speed the war effort. In addition, the call for women to join the workforce left kids without care so many PTAs established daycare centers in school buildings for the children of these newly working mothers.
- 1946 -- The Teacher Retirement Bill, which provided improvements in teacher salaries, retirements and working conditions, was passed. This was noteworthy because approximately a third of teachers in the state were teaching without certification due to a lack of qualified teachers.
- 1960s -- When school district levies failed in major school districts in the 1960s, putting kindergartens at risk of elimination, the WSPTA successfully advocated for state tax-supported kindergarten programs. The PTA also contributed to the passage of the Driver Education Law in 1963. In addition, in 1965, PTA successfully advocated for Project Head Start, which provided opportunities for disadvantaged children to attend preschool.
- 1980s -- The WSPTA successfully advocated for a number of child safety measures including, the Omnibus Drug Law, Teaching Certificate Revocation for Conviction of Sex Crimes, and Child Abuse Reporting.
- 1990s -- The WSPTA activated its grassroots network – including recruiting convention delegates to make hundreds of timely calls – to pass legislation in 1993 that established learning standards. The WSPTA was also influential in getting legislation passed that addressed gang prevention, anti-bullying and notification of pesticide use in schools.
- 2000s -- The WSPTA successfully lobbied for graduated driver’s licenses for teenagers. In 2007, the WSPTA helped pass a state ballot measure to allow school levies to pass with a simple majority. In 2009, the WSPTA helped pass a bill to redefine basic education (House Bill 2261) to include full-day kindergarten, small K-3 class sizes, a six-period day in middle and high school, and the opportunity for all children to earn a 24-credit career and college ready diploma, along with other comprehensive basic services. In 2010, the WSPTA helped pass legislation (Senate Bill 6696) that addressed school accountability, college and career learning standards, and family engagement.
Today, Washington State PTA is a vibrant active association of people from all walks of life and all backgrounds, working together toward a common vision that every child’s potential should become a reality. Its efforts include the following:
- The Reflections Program that gives thousands of children each year the opportunity to express themselves through the arts;
- The Scholarship Program that provides approximately $60,000 in financial support for graduating seniors from Washington public schools during their first-year of post-high school education;
- A statewide essay contest open to all children in the state;
- Leadership training for thousands of local PTA leaders each year, training that helps them address the nuts and bolts of their PTA responsibilities, but also prepares them to assume greater leadership roles in their communities and the state;
- A strong voice advocating for children at the local and state level through a combination of grass roots advocacy and a full-time staff to coordinate those efforts and represent the Association in Olympia;
- Outreach efforts at the local and state level to ensure our membership reflects the rich diversity of the children on whose behalf we advocate;
- An online compendium of resources for parents.
Your membership in PTA purchases: A clear message to your children that you value their education and want to be involved in their school; a means to get to know other parents and teachers at your children’s school. Go ahead and take that first step to join this amazing organization. Membership information is available through your school PTA.
Stay informed on the latest PTA news and activities at http://www.wastatepta.org.