Source: Sherman Publications

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A Parent's Perspective
Parents as advocates for kids

March 07, 2012

For 115 years, PTA has served as a powerful voice for children and families. It has transformed the world's perception of how society should treat children.

PTA founder Alice Birney envisioned this role for her fledgling organization, which attracted 2,000 people to its first national convention.

"May the whisper turn into a mighty shout throughout the land 'Let mothers, fathers, nurses, educators, ministers, legislators and the press make the child the watchword and ward of the day and hour. Let all else be secondary and coming generations will behold a new world and a new people,'" she said.

This unwavering focus on children has led to pioneering programs and legislation, such as universal kindergarten, federal school lunch legislation, child labor laws and juvenile courts.

There are thousands of parents in Clarkston Community Schools who work very hard every day to make PTA's goal of a quality education and nurturing environment for every child a reality.

Our PTAs take on a variety of critical roles in our schools mobilizing volunteers, raising funds, organizing school events, purchasing much-needed supplies and technology, and participating in district governance.

This year, the most important role we can play is as Parent Teacher Advocates. We are at a critical moment in time when our voices are needed more than ever to keep social and educational programs for children and families from being de-prioritized.

The state continues to cut education funding and has yet to repay the $200 million it borrowed last year from the K-12 School Aid budget. The current per-pupil foundation allowance (CCS receives $7,082) is $470 less per student than last year and the first official decline in the foundation allowance since Proposal A was enacted in 1995 (other than one-time pro-rations or reductions).

Here in Clarkston, citizens will vote May 8 on a $20 million bond proposal for Clarkston Community Schools for building capital improvements and technology upgrades. The best way to advocate locally for children and families is to get the facts and make an informed vote.

Local PTAs are hosting representatives from the school district at upcoming meetings to provide information on the bond proposal to the public. The Clarkston PTA Council encourages all citizens to attend one of these upcoming meetings to hear directly from a school district administrator, ask questions and form their own opinion on the bond election:

Tuesday, March 13, 7 p.m. Pine Knob Elementary, 6020 Sashabaw Road

Wednesday, March 14, 7 p.m. Sashabaw Middle School, 5565 Pine Knob Lane

Tuesday, April 10, 7 p.m. Bailey Lake Elementary, 8051 Pine Knob Road

Thank you, parents and citizens of Clarkston, for your activism in our schools and community. Your voices are the mighty shout Alice Birney foresaw over one hundred years ago; the voices that continue to speak today with one voice on behalf of every child.

Kelli Horst is president of the Clarkston PTA Council and has two sons in Clarkston Community Schools.