Be an advocate!
You can make a difference! It's easy to be an advocate for your child, your school or even the whole education system. Just talk to a friend, pick up the phone, read a report or go to a meeting.
Help solve individual problems, build involvement, affect change and engage citizens
ADVOCATE FOR YOUR CHILD
Parents play a vital role in their children’s education. You might think of a child’s education like a triangle – with the teacher, the student and the parent(s) each playing key roles.
From the minute our children are born, we become advocates for them. We steer them away from danger, make sure they are healthy, find them the best possible care and even speak for them when they are unable. Once our children start school, the advocacy continues: our children may need us to help them solve problems, to find extra support or be their “voice” in the system. This kind of advocacy is expected of us as parents – it is not confrontational, it is helpful.
On this site you will find tips for parents about everything from parent teacher interviews to navigating special education and solving problems. You can also call People for Education’s toll-free Parent Support Line at 1-888-534-0100 or ask a question right on this site.
ADVOCATE FOR YOUR SCHOOL(S)
Anyone can be an advocate for the local school, or all the schools in a town or school board. Parents, guardians, teachers, administrators, grandparents, community members, all of us have a stake in the health of our schools. Our schools belong to us all, and the state of our schools affects the whole community.
There are many ways to be an advocate for a school or schools:
- make your school a Healthy School
- act as a parent, teacher/administrator or community representative on your local school council
- join the school board’s Parent Involvement Committee
- take part in Accommodation Reviews when your school is being considered for possible closure
- join your school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
- alert the media about activities going on in your local school or your school board – the media love human interest stories – tips about how to contact the media and/or write a press release
ADVOCATE FOR PUBLICLY FUNDED EDUCATION
Just as anyone can be an advocate for a local school or board, all of us can be advocates for publicly funded education.
Sometimes the advocacy can involve raising concerns about things such as fundraising or difficulty accessing special education services. Or it can be to bring attention to a particularly important piece of research or potential new policy. It’s really about continuing to encourage a public conversation about public education, because the health of our education system is connected to the health of our whole society. Strong schools help anchor strong communities, and strong public education systems help provide all children and students with a chance to lead happy successful lives.
Advocating for public education can take many forms:
- write a letter to your local representative (trustee or Member of Provincial Parliament)
- write a letter to the editor of your local paper
- attend conferences about education (such as the People for Education Annual Conference in November)
- vote in municipal, provincial and federal elections
- join the discussions in our online community
- participate in government consultations - the province regularly holds consultations on things such as new curriculum, new policy concerning things like special education or programs for English Language Learners, an current issues such as declining enrolment. People for Education tries to keep an up-to-date list of consultations, but please let us know if we’ve missed any
- run for school trustee
- let people know why it is important to pay taxes – they fund our schools
When all of us participate as engaged citizens we build public confidence in, and public support for, strong publicly funded education.