On July 31, 2012, Governor Herbert announced, as part of Prosperity 2020, his goal of having 20,200 volunteers in Utah classrooms this year. We applaud the governor’s focus on education and encourage businesses to support the online “Business Promise” portal that will bring volunteers to the schools—not for photo opportunities or a holiday away from the office but to dig in with teachers and staff to meet real education needs. We also express our hope that the schools will not only open their doors to community and family volunteers, but that they will be prepared to use the help of volunteers in ways that spur student success.
Utah PTA has long recognized the benefit of family engagement in education. We are focusing our training of local PTA leadership on the power of family engagement in education. We are committed to doing all we can to provide parents with meaningful volunteer opportunities. It is unfortunate that so many assume that PTA is a fundraising organization for schools – a nationwide booster club. It is also unfortunate that in many schools, the parent organizations are only allowed to serve that purpose.
We encourage school administrators to evaluate how best to utilize volunteers, whether through PTA, the Business Promise portal, or another community resource. If the schools are not prepared, volunteers in the school will be in the way and counterproductive. With preparation, a volunteer in the classroom is like cutting class size in half. We know that not every parent can spend time in their child’s classroom, but every parent can help their children succeed academically by making education a family priority. Part of PTA’s mission is to foster this priority. http://p2020businesspromise.com/education/