The Parent Teacher Association
Many parents of primary and secondary school aged kids know the importance of staying connected to their students’ teachers and school staff. To have open lines of communication can mean the difference of passing and failing a class for some students. To accomplish this goal, parents often join PTAs, or Parent Teacher Associations. The PTA’s mission is to facilitate parent involvement in public and private schools because parent involvement often means better grades and behavior from students. PTAs are traditionally most popular in kindergarten through eighth grades and can be responsible for planning school events and fundraisers, be a forum for direct discussion and communication, and generally support the school, its staff and faculty.
The National Parent Teacher Association was founded in 1897 and was open to any person that believed in its cause, regardless of their affiliations to schools or whether they had children or not. The first PTA meeting was held at Marietta High School, in Marietta, Georgia. When a person joins a PTA at the local level, they are automatically given membership to the state and national PTAs as well. At one point, in the 1960s, the National PTA boasted a membership of roughly 12 million, but today, the count is just under five million members.
The Parent Teacher Association is also the largest child advocacy organization in the United States. They work to promote the health, wellbeing and living conditions of children across the nation in such areas as universal kindergarten, child nutrition, criminal justice, technology advancement in schools, child safety and educational equality. The PTA also provides a vast number of programs, after school activities and awards to help students, parents and teachers get involved with one another. PTA programs include, Healthy Lifestyles, PTA Goes to Work, Million Hours of Power and Three for Me. The PTA website also offers useful advice for teachers and parents alike for dealing with school aged children. It covers topics of health, involvement, education funding, going back to school and safety. There is literally something helpful for anyone interested.
If you are a parent or teacher and see the value in increasing your communication and involvement as it relates to student education, the Parent Teacher Association might be right for you. If there is not a PTA associated with your local school, consider starting one yourself. Speak with the educators and administrators at the schools nearest you for more information and support.