Parents are the ultimate experts on their children, yet they are rarely consulted about the education policies that impact their children’s lives. So PAVE steps in, empowering DC parents to engage in the policymaking process and demand great schools for every child. Trained parent leaders serve on Ward-based and city-wide Parent Leader in Education Boards, meet with elected officials, mobilize other parents, and build targeted campaigns. PAVE equips them with information and resources, and also partners directly with schools, state agencies, and policymakers to improve their family engagement practices. Here’s how it comes together: in 2018, PAVE parents identified out-of-school programming as a top priority. Their activism resulted in a $10.5 million budget increase to support these activities – a huge win for DC families. We need more wins to secure what we all want –excellent schools for all.
At PAVE's June 2019 Parent Policy Summit, parent leaders voted to emphasize mental health supports and trauma-informed training, as well as specialized school programs as its core advocacy issues for the upcoming year. As part of their advocacy campaign, they produced two Statements of Beliefs—one on each issue.
When schools closed in March, parents immediately wrote a "Statement of Beliefs on a Family-Centered Response to Coronavirus in DC," which was published in April and had a significant impact on DC's response and recovery planning. It has continued to serve as a resource on the best COVID-19 response websites, distance learning and learning from home resources, options for children with special needs, information and best practices for stress and coping, mental wellness resources, information on food, health, and internet access, and even direct support for families in need.