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Ten Reasons to Join Your School's Parent Association

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Maybe it's called PTA at your school, or PTO, or Home and School. But chance are, once a month or so, parents and administrators meet to discuss activities, events, problems and procedures. And indeed, those meetings are boring and frustrating and annoying and filled with highly vocal people who really need to get a hobby. But you know what? Go anyway. Participation matters. Let us count the ways.

1. Because the special-ed point of view needs to be heard

If kids with special needs aren't being well-included, planned for and represented in the life of your school, maybe it's because nobody's been speaking for them. Change that.

2. Because your child is just as much a member of the student body as anyone's

Maybe you're not from the neighborhood, and your child's being bused in from somewhere beyond walking distance, but that doesn't make you second-class citizens. Let those clique-y neighborhood moms know they don't speak for everybody.

3. Because you'll get to know school personnel

Principals go to meetings. Teachers and vice principals sometimes, too. That makes meetings a great opportunity to talk to those in charge without a child having to be in trouble first.

4. Because you'll get to know other parents

When your child is buzzing around, tugging at your arm and looking for trouble, it can be hard to have an adult conversation. At meetings, you can scan the attendees for sympathetic-looking folks (the woman who made a good point? or the one who's rolling her eyes at the same things you are?) and make some contacts.

5. Because it'll raise your school IQ

Increase your score in our pop quiz, easy.

6. Because you'll be in the know

Kids with special needs are often bad at reporting what's going on in school, and bad at bringing home notices. Find out what's happening before it happens, for a change.

7. Because you'll get the best volunteer jobs

When you're not constantly on site or don't have the right connections, it can be hard to hear about volunteer opportunities. Go to meetings, and you'll be better able to find out what needs doing and pick something that suits your talents and timetable.

8. Because you'll have budget input

Ten thousand fund-raisers and they're still playing poor? Let's have a look at that budget!

9. Because you'll bust stereotypes

Chief among them: Special-ed parents never get involved. Sure as can be, you'll hear that somewhere along the line. Correct it.

10. Because a night out is a night out.

So you'd rather spend it at the movies, sure, but school meetings give you a break from the kids and let you feel all noble at the same time.


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