"They actually listened."

Access to High-Quality Schools, Parent & Family Engagement | 11/01/2017

Maria Vanessa Gonzalez Arteaga
Parent and Stand for Children Volunteer

Visiting Olympia & Speaking Up as a Parent

I believe that one of the most important things I can do as a parent is make sure my child has a great education. But sometimes that’s challenging. So I was really excited to take part in ‘Stand University for Parents’ at my elementary school.

Stand for Children’s Tacoma Organizer, Sara, showed me how to support reading at home, how to work with my child’s teacher, and how to get the information I need to make sure my child is ready for college – or on a pathway toward a fulfilling career. One of the most exciting things Sara taught me is how to have my voice heard by legislators in Olympia.

If you haven’t been following the latest news in Washington State education, 2017 was a big year (don’t worry if you haven’t –raising kids is hard work!). State lawmakers were up against a deadline set by the Supreme Court of Washington, in what was called the McCleary Case, to meet the constitutional responsibility to fully fund basic education.

The idea of going to Olympia to talk to legislators about education issues was a little scary at first, but Sara and the rest of the Stand for Children staff made the experience easy and fun. They helped me and other parents learn more about the issues so we could speak with confidence, they set up appointments with legislators, they arranged for transportation, and helped us get around the Capitol once we were there.

It was an empowering experience to join forces with other people who care about our schools. We found out we were welcomed there and that together, we are stronger.

It might sound silly, but our elected Representatives and Senators are real people. Many of them are parents, too. They actually listened, and they cared about what I and the other parents had to say. We had coffee and talked about our kids, schools, and what we thought they should change with the new education budget. After all, it’s our money they’re spending!

Stand for Children is already focusing on finding concrete ways to make progress for kids in Washington state a reality in 2018. Read their priorities list for next year and you’ll see what I mean. (If you’re like me and enjoy staying up to date on education news, their Facebook page is another great place to start.)

Standing up for our kids helped me find the power in my voice and my story. I know what’s right for my kids. I can help make a real difference in this state, and in my community, that benefits all kids. I was intimidated at first, but relieved it was actually easy and fun. The hardest part was answering the question: what will I do?

Interested in doing more? Sign up here and we’ll contact you with the information you need to get started.

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  • Y tambien es en español?

    November 2, 2017 8:11 PM

  • Sí, pronto! Estamos traduciendolo ahora.

    November 3, 2017 9:18 AM

  • Esta página es traducida! https://stand.org/washington/blog/2017/11/01/they-actually-listened?language=es

    November 6, 2017 2:53 PM