Every Parent is an Advocate
June 1, 2023 | Sharon Sedlar
I’ve been there – realizing that something needed to be done, but not knowing where to start. And once I learn where to start, questions (and fear) rise to the surface.
What if I look foolish, or fumble over my words?
Am I worthy?
Will ‘they’ accept me? What if no one else cares?
I’m a mom, not an activist!
- Yes, we are all worthy.
- There are many other people who feel exactly as you do! There is community in your cause! I guarantee you that others care about education choice and will support you – PaFEC included!
- An advocate is a person who pleads on someone else’s behalf (like for your child – a role you’ve had since before their birth). An activist is a more broad and policy-minded person seeking change. They share similarities – the only difference is scale!
No change will come for our children if we do not step forward and make it happen. The education choice advocacy sector is extremely supportive and needs stakeholders from all corners to make their voices heard. We need different perspectives and solutions to know how to facilitate real and lasting beneficial change for the children.
We need parents to speak up for their children, and it doesn’t need to be time intensive or public:
- Talk to others about your experience and how you’d like to see change happen – whether privately in one-on-one conversations with others; or in your community (parent-teacher organization, school board meeting, city council, or on the Capitol steps). Social media is a great way to get your message out there and find allies in your efforts, and allows you to evaluate different viewpoints from other people’s perspectives. Some may cause you to rethink your position, while others will help you fortify your mission.
- Write a note to or email your school administrators, school board, or local officials; or even submit an op-ed or article to your local newspaper. Did you know that it only takes a few people contacting their legislator for them to perk up and pay more attention to a topic?
- Attend an event – virtual or in person. Webinars, virtual meetings, and panel discussions are frequently free and offered online. In-person informational seminars, workshops, and conferences – both local and national – are a great way to gain more insight, as well as the streamed Education Committee legislative meetings, the schedule for which is offered here.
- And let’s not forget the informational and fun-filled rallies and school fairs offered, most notably during National School Choice Week every January.
We parents are born advocates – we constantly seek improvement of our children’s lives. Our advocacy starts before they are born, and never ceases. Educate yourself. Share your story. Initiate change. Listen to other stories, understand their perspective, allow others to benefit from your experience.
We can do this. We must do this.