General Advocacy Tips for PTA Locals But Useful for All
Begin by taking action with your local PTA.
Is a parent really upset about a problem? Create a new PTA Committee and make him/her the chair. You need their energy and focus. Come up with a slogan. Urge parents to join the committee and build an email list and/or Facebook group. Constant communication is the key to getting people galvanized and organized.
Meet with your principal to get his/her buy-in to the problem.
It is very helpful if your principal agrees there is a problem, even if it is not “politically” possible for him or her to speak publicly on the issue. Their tacit support makes the fight exponentially easier.
Approach your Area Education Advisory Council.
Attend your area’s next meeting, bring a group and speak, or call the chair. Ask them to speak about your issue at the next Board of Education meeting during their Stakeholder time. To find meeting schedule, visit: www.bcps.org/community/edu_advisory_council/meetings.html
Take it up the BCPS Chain of Command.
Assistant Superintendent – Call the Asst. Superintendent who oversees your school and ask for an appointment to discuss your concerns.
There is strength in numbers, so take a small group with you. Be prepared. Ask questions. Don't be afraid to demand change. Always be respectful and professional, but remember - you are the taxpayer, so you have a stake in the school system. To find administrators, visit: www.bcps.org/system/org_charts/
Board of Education - Take a group to a BOE meeting to support a few members who will speak.
The BOE meets twice a month (www.bcps.org/board/next_year_schedule.html). Come 30 minutes prior to the public portion of the meeting to sign up to speak. Ten speaker names are drawn before the meeting begins. Bring at least 5 copies of your typed remarks to hand to the press. Have all group members wear the same color and bring signs.
Build a coalition!
Are other schools also dealing with this problem? Join forces! Contact your neighborhood associations to make them aware so they can advocate, too. Everyone wants the best for their neighborhood schools!
Contact your County Council member, State Delegates, and State Senator.
They are happy to meet with constituents and help solve problems. They represent you and care about the well-being of your school. Bring a small group with you, come armed with facts, and ask for their support. They can advocate on behalf of your school with decision-makers who have the power to fix the problem.
Who are my representatives in Annapolis?
Who are my County representatives?
Bringing a large group to a County Council meeting will make the whole county aware of the problem. Contact your council member first if you plan to attend a meeting, so they are aware that you plan to speak. Arrive early to sign up to speak. County Council meeting schedule available at: www.baltimorecountymd.gov/countycouncil/schedule.html
Create an online petition, send home a form letter for parents to sign and send, write letters to the editor of the newspaper, hold a rally! Remember the strength in numbers! Make sure the press is aware of the problem and keep them up to date on the meetings you are attending to correct it. If you are getting nowhere, negative publicity might be necessary. Links to press contacts available at http://www.choicebcps.org/GoPublic.html.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Hybrid School Board Advocacy Action
Contact your legislators! Email or call, but grocery store conversations are the best!
Who are my representatives in Annapolis?
Who are my local representatives?
Click here for Sample Letter
Did you know that the Baltimore County NAACP (Randallstown Branch), the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County and the Central Baltimore County Democratic Club have all taken an official stance in support of a elected representation on our School Board?
Encourage your PTA or community association to pass a resolution in support! Multiple PTAs have passed a resolution similar to the sample below:
Whereas, the citizens of Baltimore County deserve the ability to select some or all members of the Baltimore County Board of Education, be it
Resolved, That the XYZ PTA [your organization name] urges County and State legislators to support a new School Board selection process that allows for elected representation on the Baltimore County Board of Education.
Know your School Board Members
Find Someone in BCPS
TESTIFYING IN ANNAPOLIS
* You speak in the order in which you sign up when you arrive.
*When your name is called, go to the testimony table in groups of 2 or 3, depending on how many seats there are. This is nice for moral support and if you are all speaking to the same issue. BUT you need to make sure your group signs up one after another so your statements can be given all in a row. Going out of order is a problem.
* Remember that they don’t hear from many constituents on issues - they are a friendly audience.
* Try to limit your statement to 2-4 minutes to keep the delegates’ or senators’ attention.
* For some bills, it’s wise to appear to be a united group rather than to appear to represent different specific causes. That is why issue-specific t-shirts are not a good idea for committee hearings. They are a state group and not familiar with local issues and can’t help with them. Still, in your testimony, it’s good to give them an overview of the issue you are facing.
* It’s always a good idea for speakers to be nice to the committee. You want them to do the right thing and recognize why a bill needs to be passed or not. Be direct, but respectful.
* Written testimony should have the bill number up top along with “IN FAVOR” or “OPPOSED.” Also include your name and complete address.
* Email your testimony to the bill’s sponsor and/or to members of the committee, which is hearing the bill.
* Committee addresses (for education-related bills, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs (EHEA) Committee) are found here: