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Families urge support for schools at PTA Focus Day rally in Olympia

Focus_Day_2010.jpg
Washington State PTA (WSPTA)
Nearly 1,000 supporters will gather in Olympia to press lawmakers on school issues. Last year's rally (above) drew more than 1,000 people.

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Hundreds of families will rally in Olympia today to send a message to the legislature. Despite budget challenges facing the state – they say lawmakers need to keep their hands off school funding.  When just about every state service is getting slashed, it can be tough to get lawmakers to spare a particular program.  Especially if tons of voters aren’t clamoring to save it. Education associations and PTA groups say the legislature hasn’t heard many concerns about basic education. They hope a sea of parents with blue scarves and banners at the annual “focus day” rally will convince lawmakers schools are a top priority.

Dori Tate, vice president of the Washington State PTA, says parents will not let go of what’s happening with the education system.

"It’s the legislatures duty to pay for basic education. We cannot continue this train of cutting and more cuts and more cuts.”

That also includes trimming school days, something lawmakers are considering to shore up budgets, she says. The PTA also wants more support for early learning and to make teacher layoffs based on evaluations instead of seniority.

Tate says the rally isn’t just to push lawmakers. She says it helps parents see the power they have to advocate for children and could inspire more of them to make their voices heard. 

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.
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