Community Advocacy

We’ve all heard that parent involvement has a direct and positive impact on academic achievement.  Most elementary school parents do get involved by reading to their kids, asking their child if they have homework, and attending award ceremonies at the end of the year.  As children grow older, however, parents decrease their involvement in their child’s education because children need less help, and because usually parents have other responsibilities to attend. The result is that pre-teen and teenage students do not benefit from parental involvement as much as they did as younger children and their academic achievement begins to falter.

Truth be told, not only parents, but neighborhood residents, businesses, and community members all have a stake and a responsibility in improving student achievement.  Increased volunteers, support and resources from many avenues help students attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and perform at higher levels. That’s because families and educators can’t tackle public education alone.

Whether you have children or not, are young or old, or are employed or not, here are some of the things you can do to advocate for education:

Change your mindset – You know education is important. Make it a personal goal to get more involved and be a change agent.

Become educated – Read up on current education topics, lingo and projects.  Research the internet, read articles and books. Become familiar with education reform issues and initiatives.

Discuss education – Talk about education issues with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and policy makers. Talk about education when you’re in the grocery store, community events, or games. Wherever you are, ask questions, bring up topics, identify problems and talk about possible solutions! Talk to community and faith-based leaders about why they must be involved in their community schools and fight for what’s right for children.

Write letters and articles – To your local newspaper editor, education blog, or neighborhood bulletin describing issues children face in school, and include ideas on how to help support education in general.

Contact elected officials – Send letters to school board, city council, state and national elected officials,  to express support for policies that provide all children—no matter their ZIP code—with access to great public schools.

Attend meetings – PTA, school board, city council, or any meeting where academic issues are discussed and policy is made. Talk to local business, church leaders and community leaders who understand how educated citizens benefit the economy, communities, and the nation.

Visit – your members of State and Federal Congress when they are at home so that they appreciate your level of commitment to ensuring great public schools.

Check out your neighborhood school’s website– Take note of the schools’ schedule of events and attend sporting, musical or theater events. Reach out to the PTA president or school principal to offer your help.

Go to your local school – Visit your neighborhood elementary, middle or high school. Get a feel for the campus and look for projects where you, your company or group can help with beautification or volunteering.

Run for office – Seek volunteer or elected or positions where you can guide and write education reform.