Thousands head to Long Beach for California PTA convention

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File photo: Pupils listen to their teacher in a classroom on the first day of the school year.

Thousands of people are heading to Long Beach this weekend for the 112th annual state PTA convention.

There will be plenty of talk among parents and teachers about budget cuts, education reform and the disappearance of the once ubiquitous bake sale.

California PTA Vice President Colleen You says these days, bake sales are almost as rare as chalk and chalkboards.

"Many after school programs now are actually working with the students to prepare and grow foods," says You, "and when the children’s parents come to pick them up, they’re actually purchasing the foods and bringing them home and preparing them together."

It used to be that PTAs raised money for small ticket school items such as dictionaries and microscopes. Now, layoffs are prompting many PTAs to raise larger and larger sums to help pay for teachers and aides. Popular fundraisers include sales of gift wrap, magnets and notecards.

The convention’s motto “every child, one voice” is a reference to the organization’s advocacy for policymakers to undo budget cuts.

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