Making a Difference for All Children

National PTA is the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association in the United States. But what is advocacy? For the purposes of PTA, advocacy is supporting and speaking up for children—in schools, in communities, and before government bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children.

PTA Advocacy Changes Lives

Founded in 1897, PTA has a long, successful history of influencing federal policy to promote the education, health and well-being of all children—resulting in kindergarten classes, child labor laws, school lunch programs, a juvenile justice system and strengthened parent-teacher relationships.

As we look to the future and in celebration of National PTA's 120th anniversary, we honor the legacies of PTA founders Phoebe Apperson Hearst, Alice McLellan Birney and Selena Sloan Butler by sharing the stories of past advocates and present-day mothers, fathers, and families who are changing the lives of children each and every day.

PTA Advocacy Changes Lives

PTA continues that legacy today by fighting for change under its federal public policy priorities:

  • 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
  • Postsecondary Access and Opportunity

Advocating for State Policy

State laws have a major impact on education and children’s lives. Involving PTA members in state and local advocacy can play a pivotal role in securing adequate state laws, funding and policy for the education and well-being of our children.

Find your state PTA’s website by viewing our list of state PTA presidents.

Ways to Speak Up

Child advocates work with policymakers at the federal, state and local levels to ensure sound policies that promote the interests of all children. Here are a few ways PTA members can influence policy:

  • Work with your school to implement a strong family engagement policy, as required by federal law.
  • Serve on the school board; attend school board meetings.
  • Attend school district meetings on such topics as healthy alternatives in the lunchroom and federal, state and local budget cuts.
  • Work with school leaders and state education officials to implement PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.
  • Write a letter to the editor about the importance of family engagement in education.
  • Become active with your state PTA’s efforts on state-level advocacy.
  • Sign up for the PTA Takes Action Network and respond to action alerts to reach your legislators on important issues and legislation.
  • Educate members of Congress and their staff on PTA’s federal public policy priorities.
  • Meet with decision-makers at the local, state or federal level. How to Lobby the PTA Way is a useful demonstration of an effective meeting.