Thursday, June 21, 2007

County PTA should have kept its charter

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Members of People for Change are outraged that the Maryland State PTA has removed our PTA charter — especially since we have just elected a new PTA president for Prince George’s County, with a new vision and direction for our county PTA.

We at People for Change are a group of parents, community leaders, education advocates, entrepreneurs and watchdogs for Prince George’s County. As stakeholders in the educational system, we are excited about this new leadership and would like our local PTA president to be the voice that represents us. We know and understand the importance of having an active PTA and must ensure we have a say in how our PTA is governed. 

We are also concerned that the Maryland State PTA would be no match for our representation on the local level. Our county PTA president would know the difference between Hyattsville, Mitchellville and Forestville, would have the relationships with the parent and community leaders, and county representatives, and would be that central voice for a shared vision.

It’s a shame the state PTA, as one of the long-standing parent advocacy organizations in the school system, disbanded the leadership of our County PTA.

They could have chosen to work with our new president to increase the membership and overall involvement of parents and teachers in Prince George’s County. They chose instead to turn their backs on us, knowing that our school system is under state watch.

This move was a direct attack on the citizens of Prince George’s County and the more than 130,000 students in the school system. We deserve better than this.

Disbanding the PTA is another black eye on the county and a step in the wrong direction to support the efforts of our parents and teachers who are working to ensure the children of Prince George’s have a viable future.

We feel this is a blatant attempt to silence our voice as parents and teachers in Prince George’s County. There is no substitute for local representation. We want to ensure we are at the table when decisions are being made at the state level and do not feel the state PTA can adequately represent us.

We also want to know where our politicians, school board, school superintendent, and other education and advocacy organizations were when this decision was being made? We can’t be promoting ‘‘Children First” while simultaneously allowing the county PTA charter to be pulled. 

If you did not speak up, you too are a part of the problem.  This sideline approach does not promote parental involvement but smells of hypocrisy while locking the parents out.

Sandra Pruitt, MitchellvilleTerence Lewis, Upper Marlboro