Tell a friend
The role of the PTA or
PTO in our schools?
PTA and PTO
organizations are designed to provide our children with a
voice. The question is..." Have these long
established organizations evolved into a
muted voice where the primary focus is on fund raising and
the the real issues plaguing the educational system are
Whatever shortcomings exist within our local PTAs and PTOs, as
parents we have to examine the shortcomings in our own level of
involvement, commitment and participation within these
organizations on a local
level. It is very easy to become discouraged and
disenfranchised with the entire process, ... yet change is
rarely effected without someone taking the time and having
the courage to stick their neck out and challenge the
system. Take the time to visit both organization web
sites, and then take the first step. It is our responsibility to
raise our voices
about our concerns and to get involved.
Raising Our Voices
PTA and PTO meetings are our opportunity as parents to communicate
with our children's school administration, and parents must begin to
utilize the structure of the PTA as a forum to voice concerns about issues
that affect children within the public school system. As we sit back
and shake our heads with dismay about the state of public education in this
country, we sit silently in PTA and PTO meetings. Parents must find the
courage and resolve to stand up and vocalize their concerns in the one
environment we have that is designed to facilitate communication between
educators and parents.
It can be a daunting task. Since many of us aren't comfortable as
public speakers, we find talking about tough issues in an
open environment unsettling. What
parents need to remember is that more than likely,... there are many other
parents that share the same concerns. Contact your local PTA or
chairperson and ask how to bring issues to the floor. Making the
commitment by asking to be scheduled on the agenda is a great first step.
Parents can also ask that an open forum item be placed on the agenda so that
parents will know that this is the time to address issues of concern.
Ask about the establishment of special committees for review of sensitive
concerns like academic, curriculum, and misconduct issues. Don't be surprised if politics rears it's ugly head in the
process. If you can't get acknowledged with your request, don't give
up the cause. Remember you can always voice your concerns in an open
meeting, and this is your opportunity to make a difference.
The Mission of the
To support and speak on behalf of children and youth
in the schools, in the community and before
governmental bodies and other organizations that
make decisions affecting children;
To assist parents in developing the skills they need
to raise and protect their children;
To encourage parent and public involvement in the
public schools of this nation.
The Purpose of the PTA
To promote the welfare of the children and youth in
home, school, community, and place of worship.
To raise the standards of home life.
To secure adequate laws for the care and protection
of children and youth.
To bring into closer relation the home and the
school, that parents and teachers may cooperate
intelligently in the education of children and
To develop between educators and the general public
such united efforts as will secure for all children
and youth the highest advantages in physical,
mental, social, and spiritual education.
TO vs. PTA
Today.com: The national
PTA’s position as presumed leader of the parent group
world is no longer a given. More than 75 percent of U.S.
groups are now PTOs.
PTA member you can help provide a voice for children in
your community. This voice can help drive decisions,
support bonds, and raise concerns that help improve your
SchoolMatters.com can help you further investigate
and advocate for these issues by offering objective
analysis and information.
See How Your School or School District is
Performing Compared to Others
Knowing how your school or school district is performing
compared to others is useful when assessing your own
school or school district's performance. By taking
advantage of the SchoolMatters comparison tools, you can
find best practice ideas for improving performance.
Using the Quick Compare tool, you can compare your
school or school district with four other schools or
school districts to find detailed data on student
performance, community demographics, enrollment
information, and spending allocations. You can also use
the Better Performers tool to find similar schools and
school districts that are faced with the same conditions
as yours, but that are performing better.
side-by-side comparisons provide an overview of where
your school or school district stands and highlights
challenges and strengths affecting your school or school
district. As a PTA member, you can use these results as
a starting point to further discussions with other PTA
members and education decision makers, including your
local school board and state legislators.
Advocate for Needed Changes
PTA members can also use
SchoolMatters.com to support requests for additional
resources. Using the Advanced Search tool, you can
identify school districts in your community with the
greatest need for technology resources, community
volunteers, in-kind donations, and financial support.
Additionally, reviewing your school district's spending
information allows you to see where funding is currently
being allocated, as well as where it has historically
been allocated to see whether funding for a program has
increased or decreased over time. Gwen Pierce, a parent
from Gogebic County, Michigan, used
SchoolMatters.com for this purpose. Gwen wanted
information that would support her cause to help pass a
bond referendum to improve her school's facilities. So,
she turned to the S&P website to make sure she and her
community had all the facts before attempting again.
Using the comparative information on property taxes,
spending levels, and school district debt-information,
she was able to inform the school board and local
residents, with actual numbers. What Ms. Pierce found
during her "fact finding" search was that local taxes,
spending, and debt were much lower than state and county
averages. This discovery only strengthened her position
on the issuance of additional bonds, and by
communicating with her community members through
newsletters and flyers she was able to gain support and
the bond referendum passed.
Read more about Gwen Pierce.