April 23, 2010

do something.

today my mind is on PTA.
honestly, when my kids first started going to school i saw the pta moms and i thought it was a little fundraising click that i wasn't sure i wanted to be a part of.
since moving to texas i have been a part of pta.

for the past 2 years i have served as president at our elementary school, and this year i have also served as the 2nd Vice President at the district level.

i haven't always loved it, but i have learned so much.
and i BELIEVE in PTA.

from pta i have seen first-hand the financial concerns the schools are faced with.
i've seen and gotten to know the GREAT people that are in the education system.
teachers and staff who really dedicate their whole lives for the love of children.
i've seen involved parents and not involved parents.
i've seen how important it is for people with high moral standards to be involved in making decisions about how and where money is spent.
pta is like congress/senate, it adds a balance to school politics-- a voice from the people.
not that we have that much influence, but we do have a voice, and eyes.
because we're involved we see what is happening at the schools and can make a difference.
i know the school superintendent personally.  i know the people at the district office and i know the teachers and principals at my kids' school very well.
i know some teachers who i would give my child to, and some teachers who i wouldn't.

and, because of pta i have met great friends... other mothers and fathers who care and who are involved.
i know kids that i want my kids to be friends with and i have a whole group of people i would call to pick my kids up from school if i were stuck at a doctors appointment.
i know the personal struggles of many of the parents and i can reach out.
i have friends who don't go to church with me or live on my street.
and, i'm better friends with people who do live on my street.

pta provides an opportunity for good people to meet and know one another.

i know about budget cuts and boundary issues and title one funding and district issues like indoor football stadiums that are built BEFORE science classrooms...
because i was at the forum last night (one of about 20 people) where each of the current school board nominees answered questions-- i know who i want to vote for in the upcoming election and WHY i want to vote.
[1.  this school board will decide WHERE my kids go to middle school.  2. these school board nominees will decide how to spend the money from the state... Our school is a Title One school, that means that because we have a poorer population we receive government funds to subsidize learning.  One of the nominees hinted at the unfairness of this and advocated the school boards role in "equalizing" the funding throughout the district.  That means he would vote to give more district money to the schools who don't receive Title One funds.  Sorry, but i think it does make a difference for the teachers when they are teaching a Title One population.  I think they deserve more funding because overall their students struggle more, they have less parental involvement and fund raising is MUCH more difficult because these parents can not afford to give as much.  And, i'm not sure i could vote for someone who says they are running for office because they want to make a difference in the school district but they are not even a member of their child's PTA.]

i don't believe that everyone has to dedicate tons of time to pta.
i don't believe it has to be an ALL or NOTHING mindset.
in fact, i believe the best functioning pta will have many parents on board helping in smaller ways... not just 4 or 5 superwoman contributors.

you can do something.
just being a part of an organization, adding your email to the list they contact when they need volunteers, coming to the meetings and using your voice to vote how you think the money should be spent, sending cookies with your child when a teacher passes away, helping to clean up after a school activity so that the 5 teachers who do EVERYTHING who plan and teach and grade and volunteer and give their money, so those teachers can go home before 11pm and spent time with THEIR family.
you can do something.

and, i'm grateful for my opportunity to learn and serve and be more involved.
even though my life is busy.
even though my kids are young.
even though i HATE fund raising.
i did something.
and today, i'm glad.


Tiffany said...

I totally miss PTA--loved doing it at my girls' school in Lubbock! I felt so involved and loved all the parents I got to know. Here, it's PTO (which is similar, but not the same) and it's district-wide... so there's not a parent/teacher thingie just for my kids' school. I haven't felt as compelled to get involved, because it covers NINE schools, instead of just one. Whatever. But I loved this post! Maybe I'll have to try it out here, afterall...

valerie in TX said...

I love working with you in PTA, and we so appreciate all you do. You're right, if everyone would do just one small thing, a few people wouldn't have to do everything. It's the 80/20 principle.

I'm sad I wasn't able to go to the forum. You'll have to tell me about it.

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