Friday, July 21, 2006

On the road in Westwood with the Mayor's Reform/Takeover/Makeover plan

At Mayor Villaraigosa's Town Hall Meeting in Westwood last Thursday evening charter school advocate and would-be parent's union founder Steve Barr – speaking for the Mayor's Plan, chose to attack PTA – characterizing the organization and its meetings as monthly fights and shouting matches.

I've been to more than my share of PTA meetings, I've seen some where honest disagreements have broken out – democracy is like that.

But Steve, your child will never know a child with Polio. That's because PTA fought in the 1950's. You have seatbelts in your car because PTA fought in the '60's. Your child rides in safety in a car seat because PTA fought in the '70's. The federal government is engaged in Public Education because PTA fought. PTA fought for those Title One funds your Green Dot Schools receive. Poor children get free and reduced price school lunches and there are kindergartens in public schools because PTA fought. School Zones and Child Labor Laws and Parental Involvement ….and those infuriating safety caps on medicine bottles because we fought.

Week before last Governor Schwarzenegger recognized PTA's advocacy for the Arts, Music and Physical Education in California in an event at Hamilton High School …and came though with nearly a billion dollars in funding. And yes: Bake sales and after school programs and the Fall Carnival. All from those monthly fights from those meddlesome moms and dads.

There already is an independent parent's union - and it has grass roots locals at school sites, it has councils, districts and state organizations in every state. It has a national office. It has six million volunteer dues-paying members nationally; one million in California, 60,000 in LA.

It is PTA ...and we are not just punch and cookies. Join the fight.

Scott Folsom
Los Angeles Tenth District PTA/PTSA

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