|School or community-based parent-resident groups come in many shapes and sizes. Use these resources to help you decide how to get one organized.
Where to Start: The members of your task force will become informed about legislative issues that relate to public education and communicate this information to residents of the school district in order to build community support for public education and to advocate for healthy, well-funded public schools.
Step 1. Recruit Leaders
The task force should be chaired by a parent and should include a parent representative from each school in the district, as well as other community members such as senior citizens and business leaders. These representatives play a critical communication role especially when an immediate response is necessary. They can mobilize parent and resident support. These representatives should report regularly to the PAC/PTO and/or Site Council of their schools. An e-mail tree (and mailing list, if necessary) should be established to inform those who are interested but can’t attend meetings.
Step 2. Get Connected
The chair of the task force should be included on relevant district-wide committees. This provides the opportunity for connection with other interested parents and staff and assures that the task force chair is well informed about district issues. District staff must communicate with the task force, help with focus and direction, and alert the task force to any advocacy events.
Step 3. Get Organized
It must be emphasized that the task force should function independently from any professional lobbying efforts. The task force retains its credibility with elected representatives if, and only if, they are understood to represent voter interests.
Parent-Resident Groups – A directory of Minnesota groups working to support public schools.
Hopkins Legislative Action Coalition – Sample policy, bylaws and structure of a coalition authorized by a local school board.
Minnesota PTA – Parent groups that form as PTA’s receive a wealth of information and support from the state and national offices. Contact the state office to request a new member packet.
Parents Across America – A grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together on improving our nation’s public schools.
Parents for Public Schools – A national organization of community-based chapters working in public schools through broad-based enrollment.
PTOtoday.com – Tips and tools for parent group leaders, no matter what the acronym!