To: PTA leaders, members and families
From: SCPTA President Cassandra Johnston
Subject: Call to Action to Engage and Empower Families and Communities to Advocate for All Children
This past week our family, like many families, made adjustments as the Seattle Education Association and Seattle Public School District bargaining teams were unable to reach a contract agreement. As a parent and PTA leader, I find myself in a difficult situation. As a parent, I believe it is natural for us to want to support our teachers. These are the individuals we entrust to care for, teach and mentor our children each day in the classroom. At the same time, we recognize that teacher strikes are deeply disruptive for students and families.
Seattle Council PTSA supports our teachers and advocates for full funding of education, but we don’t advocate for education stoppages. We do urge every PTA member to advocate for all students, our teachers and the District by demanding the legislature comply with the WA State Supreme Courts ruling to adequately fund education per the McCleary decision.
Legislators need to hear that we are committed to excellent public education and must have a system that supports education through adequate funding. Please take a moment to contact your state legislator and the governor to advocate for fully funding education.
It is the PTAs mission “To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children”. Consistent with this belief, we encourage all parents and community members to continue to speak in support or express concerns regarding the strike regardless of affiliation with PTA. It is amazing to hear of the many ways parents and communities have taken action and organized activities for students and forums for parents to speak up and connect with one another.
As non-profit organizations, PTA does have existing policies around procedures that guide our actions. We have compiled a one page “Guidance for PTAs during Strikes” from National and State PTA policies and resolutions to address important questions and clarify the roles of PTA leaders and members.
This is a complex and challenging situation for all stakeholders, one which has not occurred in Seattle for 30 years. Thank you for all your support of students and families is Seattle and please contact us with additional questions and continue to share resources and ideas with one another on how families can be involved.