PTA priorities should put children first, not bureaucrats
By Gina Castañeda
I am a proud lifetime member of the Parent Teacher Association. I appreciate the hard work of mothers and fathers who have joined PTA to support students’ education and school activities.
I have spent countless hours helping raise money and volunteering at schools. Most moms and dads do that for their children. Many of them join the PTA because they believe they are supporting their kids and their classmates — that they are giving them opportunities that enrich their education.
The PTA motto is “Every child. One voice.” Unfortunately, I learned that motto is misleading. The PTA does not stand for every child and it does not stand for parental rights. Instead, I was disappointed to learn that the PTA’s legislative policy agenda advocates for what is in the best interest of school administrators — not the students.
Monday is PTA Day at the Capitol. I’ll be there, but not to lobby for the legislative agenda PTA’s leadership advocates for — not for an agenda that extends far beyond the playground and the school facilities.
While PTA members are at the Capitol, they’ll be expected to lobby against school choice. That’s right, the PTA has taken a position opposing parents having the ability to choose their child’s educational environment. They’ll makes no mention of the fact that there are 1,300 failing schools in Texas and more than 800,000 students attending those failing schools. And shockingly, their agenda makes no mention of “pass the trash” or the special education scandals.
Why is the PTA ignoring the sexual violation of children in our public schools while opposing choice? Why do they oppose Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in being silent on a heinous practice, while wanting to deny parents an escape valve to protect their kids from being subject to abuse?
Because of this, the PTA is not truly representative of the parents of Texas and certainly not for all children. Their agenda does not differ from the Texas Association of School Boards, the Texas Association of School Administrators or the teacher unions.
There are plenty of other groups lobbying for the education institutions and for the education employees. A focus on the best opportunities for the student and the empowerment of the parent should be their ultimate goals.
Who knows a child better than his or her parent? Parents know when their children are struggling in school, or when they are bored and feeling unchallenged. They know what aids their child’s success. They know their child’s dreams and aspirations, their strengths and weaknesses, their fears and their unique needs.
Parents love and want what is best for their child. Why should we stand in their way?
Let’s put Texas parents in charge of their children’s education. Let’s bring the decisions about a child’s education back to the family dining table, and out of the bureaucrat’s office. Let’s join the 30 other states that have school choice. Texas parents deserve nothing less.