Student & Teacher Advocacy Committee
The National PTA was founded in 1897 to advocate for children’s needs. Today, the Mitchell Elementary PTA (the first established in the state of Florida in 1939) continues its non-profit, all volunteer efforts to meet the needs they face. Below we have compiled some links and news feeds to provide additional information on Florida child advocacy issues and efforts.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!!
Please mark your calendars for the following advocacy events:
- Free screening of Backpack full of Cash at the Tampa Theater: Monday, February 26 at 6:30pm. Click here for more information.
- Public school advocacy information session with Melissa Erickson, co-founder of the Alliance for Public Schools and former Hillsborough County PTA President: Thursday, March 1st at 8:45am: Whether you’re an expert on what our FL public schools are facing or wondering what all the hubbub is about, you don’t want to miss this! We will meet at the Blind Tiger SoHo (bottom of the Morrison on corner of Howard & Morrison).
- First Student & Teacher Advocacy Committee Meeting: Tuesday, March 6th at 1:30pm. ALL PTA MEMBERS WELCOME! Come share ideas and information about ways to raise awareness of the issues our public schools are facing and take action. We will meet at Mitchell.
The Florida House of Representatives passed HB 7055 and it is now in front of the Senate for consideration. This bill is a mega 198-page “train” bill that greatly impacts our children. Several items included in the bill* will divert significant funds away from Florida public schools such as:
- The Hope Scholarship (HB1) which provides vouchers to victims of school bullying to attend private schools. It does not address the bullies themselves, instead leaving them in school to potentially victimize other students. This new voucher program has the potential to divert $40 million of tax dollars to private schools.
- Provision to offer students in grades 3 – 5 who earn a 1 or 2 on the FSA ELA exam a subsidy to use for private sector reading interventions
- Provision to make it more difficult to close unsuccessful charter schools
- Provision to allow principals to manage more than 1 school
The Florida State Legislative Session is happening NOW. Before it ends on March 9th, our State Senators and Legislators will vote on funding for public education, including HB 7055. Bills passed during these sessions greatly impact our children. Last year, the House passed Bill 7069. That bill allocated 50% of capital outlay funds for construction and maintenance to charter schools. Currently, 11% of Florida public school students attend charter schools, while the remaining 89% attend traditional public school such as Mitchell.
The PTA adopted a resolution in December 2017 so that we can officially support our students and teachers by addressing ongoing public education issues. As such, the PTA has created a new committee, the Student & Teacher Advocacy Committee, with Becky Ferrell-Anton and Alisha Stephens as co-chairs. We hope to raise awareness of public school issues and communicate action items through PTA channels such as meetings, the PTA website, the PTA Facebook page, Bobcat Blasts, etc.
Please click here to read information from the Hillsborough County Council PTA on the importance of advocacy and helpful tips to stay informed and active.
The Florida Education Association Public Policy & Advocacy has put together this list of 5 Things That Must Change to Improve Public Education.
Know Who Your State Legislators Are and Their Voting Records:
You can find your State Legislators here. Email and call them during the Session when bills are pending. Be specific about what action you would like them to take. Sample emails are provided by the Alliance for Public Schools and other sources.
Current House Education Bills to Watch:
HB 7055 combines several important issues into one instead of hearing each bill on its own merit.
HB 311 provides alternative pathways to a standard high school diploma for students who completed the minimum high school graduation course requirements but did not pass the grade 10 ELA assessment or statewide standardized Algebra I EOC assessment.
HB 427 eliminates some student testing and allows school districts to set teacher salary schedules by removing the current merit pay requirement.