Georgia PTA Legislation Priorities

2017 Georgia General Session to Open January 9

Georgia PTA and other stakeholder groups will be monitoring many items during the upcoming legislative session, including the recommendations/findings from the Education Reform Commission. Much is on the table that impacts our teachers, students, administrators and communities. The senior education analyst for GBPI analyzed the new funding formula and expresses her concerns and observations here.

For additional information on education spending, see Georgia's Budget Primer 2017.

Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students and replaces the "No Child Left Behind" act. Each state is working on developing a plan for its stakeholders. For Georgia's timeline, click here

In October 2016, the Georgia PTA Board of Directors approved the 2016-17 Legislative Priorities based upon member input. These focus on priority areas for PTA including juvenile justice, technology/student data, gun safety and corporal punishment. These will govern the positions that PTA takes on legislation brought forth in the 2017 Georgia General session, as well as guide local leaders on ballot issues and legislative items. 

PTA’s Rich Tradition of Advocacy 

Part of the National PTA’s threefold mission is to speak on behalf of all children and youth before governmental bodies and other organizations. For over 100 years, PTA volunteers have used their time, energy, experience and knowledge to bring about changes in laws, policies and programs for the benefit of children.

To learn more about PTA’s deep tradition of advocacy, watch a video history of those efforts and the courageous women who spoke on behalf of children. Universal kindergarten, child labor laws, hot lunches, immunizations and standards for family engagement are just a few of the issues that PTA advocates have supported.

These efforts continue today. National PTA issues an annual Federal Public Policy Agenda, The 2016 Public Policy Agenda features seven key policy areas:

    • Elementary and Secondary Education
    • Special Education
    • Federal Investments in Education
    • Early Learning and Childhood Education
    • Child Health and Safety
    • Gun Safety and Violence Prevention
    • Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
    • Education Technology and Student Data Privacy
    • Post secondary Access and Opportunity

Click here to read the Executive Summary or the entire Agenda can be accessed here. National PTA also has webinars for each policy area.  

·   How Can I Become More Involved as an Advocate for My Child and My School?  

Every PTA member can be an effective advocate. The process is always the same: identify, research and understand the issue; identify, research and understand the decision-maker; and develop and communicate the message. The process is not always easy, and dedication and perseverance are usually required. Sometimes success is achieved quickly, sometimes slowly.

  • Watch or attend your school district’s Board of Education meetings.   
  • Find out who your PTA’s Legislation Committee Chair is. Don’t have one? Consider asking to be appointed. 
  • Sign up to receive communications from your school and/or your school district.
  • Know who your elected officials are at the local, state and federal levels
  • Make plans to attend Georgia PTA’s Advocacy Training in October 2015 and PTA Day at the Capitol in 2016.
  • Join National PTA’s Action Alerts Network

Note: In order to maintain a nonprofit status under federal rules, Georgia PTA (and all local units under its umbrella) is nonpartisan and works to direct its efforts at members of both political parties in order to enact change. When PTA officers or lobbyists participate in legislative activities that educate lawmakers about officially adopted PTA positions, or support a particular piece of legislation that is in agreement with the PTA Legislative Program, it is done on a strictly nonpartisan basis.