ANAHEIM (CBS) — A convention bringing together parents and educators from across the state kicked off in Anaheim on Wednesday.

The California State PTA Convention 2012 will feature symposiums on educational issues and workshops on a variety of PTA-
related topics including parent involvement and volunteer management.

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But just as a wave of sex abuse scandals and school reform efforts have led more parents to get involved in their children’s schools, Carol Kocivar, president of the California Parent Teacher Association, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the organization is helping parents speak up for their kids.

“We’ve been working very hard on parent engagement programs, so that parents who traditionally may not have been involved in schools really do have the skills they need,” said Kocivar.

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Among the items on the convention agenda: the “Our Children, Our Future” ballot initiative, which would create a fund for public education of money that could not be diverted for other payments.

Kocivar said she hears often from parents who say they want funding restored for programs like art and music, librarians and smaller classes.

“Over the last couple of years we’ve seen some really terrible, terrible cuts happen, class sizes are larger, instructional times being cut,” she said. “When we look at what’s happening in our schools, our parents are telling us the first thing we’ve gotta do is start restoring funding.”

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The convention will continue through Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center.