Engaging Parent Quickly and Easily (for Superintendents and Principals)

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For the 2013-14 budget year, a broad coalition of organizations, school stakeholders, education professionals, parents and community members are calling on the state legislature to:

– Restore the nearly $1 billion in state funding cuts (made in each of the last two years) over a three year timetable, getting PA back on track to supporting schools based on the level needed to meet state academic standards

– $270 million in funding restored to K-12 education in this year’s budget

– Cost of living increases for special education and career-technical education

– Adopt a formula based strategy for allocating dollars, working toward a permanent, rational funding formula

– Increasing state support will reduce tax unfairness (i.e. over-reliance on property taxes) and move us toward delivering on the Constitutional responsibility to provide a “through and efficient” system of education

Education Voters is part of this coalition (as is PASA) working with parents and communities to engage them on policy issues.  Working with partners can help Superintendants/district and school leaders get important information to parents, without adding significant time or responsibility to your already busy schedule.  Here are three simple things you can do:

1. Connect active parents/parent leaders, or staff who communicate regularly with parents, to organizations that can work directly with parents on how to get involved.  Parents want to know what is going on and how to get involved.

We can provide tools for involvement.  This allows your stakeholders to get active, without you having to take on additional responsibilities and commitments.  Often, a simple email introduction is enough:

To: Regina Parente, Lincoln Elementary School and Susan Gobreski (ED at Education Voters PA)
Subject: e-introductions regarding state funding for public schools
Message: Regina is the head of our district parents’ organization [OR: our district parent liaison] and is in touch with the parent association leader at each school.  Susan is the head of Education Voters, which is one of the organizations doing a lot of work to fight for school funding.  I wanted to put the two of you in touch.  Regina, it would be great if you can connect with Susan (susan@educationvoterspa.org) and see if they can send a speaker or some materials out to provide an update at the home school association meetings (parent advisory / school booster club/etc.) about what is happening on state policy and the budget for schools this year.

[Or: Could you provide email introductions to some of the active parents/parent groups? I think they have some information to distribute that is relevant to our community].

2.  Invite a speaker to do an update at a meeting.  Whenever possible, we will attend a meeting in person and can do a 5-7 minute update or a 15-30 minute (you can determine the time allotted) overview.

3.  Ask us to send language/information that you can adapt for use in a bulletin, newsletter, email or update.

Upon request, Education Voters will send a short informational update on budget proposals (a paragraph and 1-2 bullets) and some materials on how parents can get more information.  This means you can just give people information and direct them to places where they can get involved.

Education Voters has provided information and training to hundreds of home and school associations, community groups and conferences (including the Title I State Parent Advisory Committee annual conference) and helped promote general involvement and/or provided state issue advocacy trainings for groups from 3 to 300.

Contact: Susan Gobreski, Executive Director at: susan@educationvoterspa.org or telephone: 215-564-2299