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Parent Advocacy

Parent organizations are excellent vehicles to support parent advocacy. For example, PA/PTAs in some NYC public schools play a significant role in helping parents advocate for mandated and needed programs and services for students, such as special education and language access. In schools where parents are concerned about the physical condition of their children’s school building, PA/PTAs have worked to eradicate toxic PCB light fixtures, prevent school construction on toxic waste sites, and ensure the health and safety of students and school staff during school renovation projects. Some PA/PTAs have taken on broader roles outside their schools, advocating for policies and practices to promote integrated schools across their districts and the city itself.

Parent advocacy can take many forms: a number of PA/PTAs establish committees that work on specific issues, though some schools prefer to create action groups within SLTs. In others, certain parent advocacy is not officially connected to either the PA/PTA or SLT, but the work of stand-alone groups of parents organized around a specific issue. Often, parent groups call upon advocacy and community based organizations, as well as experts in a specific field, for guidance and support, and then work in tandem with these parties to achieve their goals. Depending on the issue involved, parent groups sometimes enlist the support of elected officials as well.