PTA and Pirates Visit State Capitol3/3/2023
Wylie ISD’s Council of PTAs took students to the Texas State Capitol in Austin as part of the Texas Parent Teacher Association Rally Day Feb. 27.
“Rally Day is an advocacy event for PTA members to speak face-to-face with local legislators on the matters they want addressed,” Monica Muñoz, Wylie ISD Council of PTAs President, said.
The attendees spent the day listening to current state representatives and senators during the 88th Legislature.
“I’m impressed that our Pirates chose to spend the day learning about current legislation and advocating for their own futures,” WHS Principal Brian Alexander said. “It was a great day!”
Front row: Christina Maru, Julianna Charnecki, Sydney Sanders; middle row: Landon Kohler, Catherine Phan, Channing Shepherd, Ava Griess, Murtaza Khan, Rutvi Kunadia; back row: Shari Sanders, Siona Phan, Hibetallah Mohamed, Tavri Mohamed
Texas PTA encourages its members to attend Rally Day to raise awareness about news of public schools and children and to share Texas PTA’s legislative agenda.
“Representatives told us about issues and which ones they supported,” WHS sophomore Murtaza Khan said. “Then they opened up to questions. I think I got my message across about STAAR.”
Khan was able to speak with Texas State Representatives Candy Noble and Jeff Leach.
“I asked about their thoughts on the STAAR test,” Khan said. “They don’t like them either. The STAAR test doesn’t really measure the level of education you’ve had for the whole year.”
Texas PTA’s lead legislative priorities are the public school funding system, opposing school vouchers, teacher and staff shortage and retention, student mental health and the A-F Accountability System.
Khan thinks the most important priority should be the accountability system.
“The A-F Accountability System is based on STAAR, graduation rates, etc.,” Khan said. “The system is so unfair.”
The sophomore said he also shared his thoughts about school funding with the representatives.
“Basing school funding on attendance instead of general enrollment, you are marginalizing funding. It needs reform and quickly,” Khan said.
WHS sophomore Sydney Sanders also traveled with the group to Austin. She thinks the top priority should be teacher pay.
“Even though I think mental health is a big one, funding for teachers is most important,” Sanders said. “Being a teacher is hard, especially as a high school teacher. They could be better compensated for the work they put in.”
The “PTA Rally under the Dome” event included a Priorities Caucus, followed by a Student Caucus, then the Rally on the South Steps of the Capitol.
“This environment really gets your gears rolling,” Khan said. “Interacting with kids from different communities – we actually learned some stuff. It was a very beneficial trip. I very much enjoyed it. I’m thankful PTA has funding for these types of trips because this is very important.”
This was Muñoz’s fifth time attending the PTA Rally Day.
“I want everyone to know how approachable our representatives and legislators are,” Muñoz said. “I heard countless times how the Capitol is ‘our house’ and that while we may not all agree on everything, we can all be heard. We had open, honest, healthy and passionate conversations about these priorities.”
One student speaker really stood out for Sanders. She said the Texas PTA president even cried because of the student speaker’s words about being tolerant and being a proponent for everyone.
“It was a really inspiring message,” Sanders said. “It also goes for the students. It summarized the whole point why we were there – to advocate for ourselves.”
Earlier in February, Wylie ISD board members and district leadership also traveled to Austin to visit with legislators. To learn more about Wylie ISD’s top legislative priorities, visit the school board webpage.
“Whether you were able to attend Rally Day, considered it, or would still like to voice your support, please do so, 2023 is a legislative year and now is the time to support our children,” Muñoz said.