What is Advocacy?

advocacy

noun ad·​vo·​ca·​cy | \ ˈad-və-kə-sē  \

Definition of advocacy

the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal the act or process of advocating (see ADVOCATE entry 2) something

Other universal definitions of advocacy include:

  • Public support for a cause
  • Speaking in favor of something
  • Being a champion for something

PTA advocacy can be explained in four words: speaking up for children. 

Advocacy takes place every day, from the legislative level down to individual conversations PTA members have at their school. Examples of PTA legislative advocacy at the national level through the years include universal Kindergarten, hot lunches, and seatbelt laws. At the state level, we have supported newborn screening, daily recess in elementary school and a ban on texting while driving. All of these things have a direct or indirect impact on the health, safety and education of our children.

But, advocacy is much more than that.

Advocacy is…

…helping a child find their voice when they are afraid to tell their teacher that a child in their class is bothering them.

…helping a child find the right words to ask their teacher about something they don’t understand in class.

…finding a translator to speak to a confused and afraid non-English speaking parent who shows up at a PTA event because she isn’t sure where else to go to find help for her child.

…working with a school district to update communications to make sure they are providing the best and more clear message to parents.

…speaking up as a minority parent voice in a group of state education leaders, letting them know how their policies are impacting children.

…mobilizing parents across the state or the nation to provide a unified voice to legislators about what’s important to our kids.

These are all examples of PTA advocacy that has taken place in Alachua County.

YOU are an advocate. We are all advocates. Our voices are important. We are creating change. Never forget the impact you are having on children as a PTA advocate!

How does PTA advocacy work?

PTA advocacy at all levels is directed through position statements – documents that outline the opinion, will or intent of the association to address problems, situations or concerns that affect children/youth and require action. Position statements are created at the national and state level through the resolutions process, which involves significant research, communication, and ultimately approval by PTA delegates. School and county-based PTA units can advocate for or against issues that fall within statewide or national position statements.  Contact us if you have questions about how to use or interpret position statements or local or county positions.

ACCPTA advocates through one-on-one and group meetings with decision-makers, as well as public testimonies during assemblies when appropriate. Each school’s PTA unit is asked to appoint an Advocacy Representative who disseminates information about national, state and county advocacy to their local unit leadership and membership. The representative also captures information and feedback from PTA members to help direct countywide efforts, and manages any school-level advocacy campaigns deemed necessary by the school’s PTA leadership. Click here to access current and ongoing advocacy resources and statements.

Tips & Resources

National PTA Advocacy Toolkit
Guide for the PTA Advocate, from FL PTA
How to be an effective advocate, from ACCPTA