If you had a few minutes with the President of the United States, what would you say to him about education?
Twelve PTA members working to improve the lives of children through involvement in PTA and education will soon have that privilege.
They will be honored as White House Champions of Change at a special event and policy briefing with PTA leaders from across the country at the White House in August—but first they must be nominated and chosen.
You have until July 10th to nominate exemplary PTA members, or to be nominated as one. The White House and the National PTA are looking for volunteers who have dedicated time, talent and a powerful voice to improving educational equity and opportunity for every child. To nominate someone, visit PTA.org/championsofchange.
Myrdin Thompson is a Louisville, Ky. PTA volunteer who received the Champion of Change distinction earlier this year, and spent about five minutes talking with President Obama. Recognized for her commitment to education, she received the honor with volunteers who spearheaded initiatives in other areas of American life.
Thompson said she spoke to the president about building a better future through parents and families being involved in education. She also talked about the importance of making college not only attainable but affordable for children.
“I said that, while I’m delighted and thrilled to be honored in this capacity, oftentimes families and parents are doing this work and not being recognized for the work they’re doing, yet they are going to keep doing it because they are their child’s first teacher,” Thompson recalled.
“We need to figure out better capacity building so we are able to be stronger partners. I mentioned things I do in my community in a variety of ways. It was five minutes to tell him about all of the work that I do. I am a huge believer in parents understanding school budgets, understanding how their school system works in order to strengthen their ability to advocate for it,” she said. Thompson also read to the President letters written by her children.
“At the end of the meeting, he emphasized that I now have a connection within the White House to continue to have these conversations. He said, ‘We work for you; let us know what’s working and what’s not working,’” she recalled. (To read Thompson’s personal account of meeting the POTUS, visit her “Roots and Wings” blog entry, “West Wing 101.” She also recently shared her views with K-12 Parents & the Public about how parents can stay engaged in schools over the summer.)
National PTA, in partnership with the White House and U.S. Department of Education, announced the new Champions of Change initiative focused on PTA volunteers at the PTA’s 116th Annual Convention and Exhibition.
The Champions of Change program was created by the White House more than a year ago and recognizes ordinary Americans across the country that are doing extraordinary work in their communities. During the last year they have held more than 40 Champions of Change events, honoring more than 500 Champions from all 50 states.
More information about the PTA’s collaboration with the White House is available here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.