Do you want your children in public schools to be physically fit and understand good eating habits? Thank a teacher -- and the Parent Teachers Association (PTA). The PTA supports and offers volunteer service to Gold Medal Schools which make it possible for elementary schools to provide physical activity and healthy nutrition choices at a time when budget cuts and testing requirements overshadow physical activity and nutrition.
Do you want your students to be stimulated by reading incentive programs? With some great corporate partners, PTA sponsors "Read Today," in which students (K-6) commit to reading every day. Students read and watch with pride as the total number of books they've read grows, and thank a teacher.
Do you support parental involvement in our schools and having resources for parents to improve their parenting skills? Then welcome to "Uplift Families." This is First Lady Jeanette Herbert's initiative to encourage parental involvement and assist in finding resources for parents to advance their parenting skills. You guessed it, the Utah PTA and other agencies are proud partners with Mrs. Herbert.
The Utah PTA does this and so much more such as being consistent and dependable classroom volunteers. For decades, the PTA has been the first line of support for Utah schools. Those dedicated women and men work tirelessly, not just for their own children and the friends of their children, but for all students. They are constant (and unpaid) advocates, standing before the Legislature and local governments to promote good public policy that strengthens and assists children and our public schools.
PTA members are regularly in our schools. They see the strengths. They see the needs. That's why a recent survey taken at the state PTA convention by Utahns for Public Schools is so telling. The responders, active PTA members, are in the know.
What do PTA members like best about their schools? They like teachers and principals -- our education heroes. What single factor do PTA members feel would improve education? They like additional funding, more parental involvement, smaller class size.
PTA members support the English and math standards that have been adopted in the Utah Core by a whopping 90 percent. Interesting. These survey responders are often volunteering in the classroom. They understand the Utah Core and support it.
Here is an important eye opener from the survey. By an 84 percent margin, PTA members who took the survey support a tax increase if the funding went to public education. They see the need. They know that Utah's present efforts to support public education are inadequate.
Yes, Utah children deserve better -- better funding and more parental involvement in the schools. Kudos to the Utah PTA for their long tradition of supporting children and public schools. Here is the PTA mission statement. It is worth emulating.
The Utah PTA will help every child realize his/her full potential and will:
Advocate -- Support and speak on behalf of children and youth.
Involve -- Encourage positive involvement in all facets of a child's life.
Develop -- Assist in developing skills to raise and protect children and youth.
Allen represents the organization Utahns for Public Schools.