Parent-Teacher Association

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A parent-teacher association (PTA) or parent-teacher-student association (PTSA) is a formal organization composed of parents, teachers and staff that is intended to facilitate parental participation in a school. They are present in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

PTAs in the United States[edit]

In the U.S., groups which use the PTA acronym are part of the National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA), a non-profit formerly based in Chicago before moving to Alexandria, Virginia. The National PTA was founded on February 17, 1897, in Washington, DC, as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst at a meeting of over 2,000 parents, teachers, workers, and legislators.[1] In 1908, the organization changed its name to the National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations..[1]

Most public and private K-8 schools have a PTA, a Parent Teacher Organization or an equivalent local organization. These organizations also occur (though less frequently) at high schools and preschools. Every person who joins a local PTA automatically becomes a member of both the state and National PTAs. PTA membership — including the number of affiliated units and of individual members — has been declining for several decades. The group boasted more than 12 million members in the late 1960s; today membership is down below 5.2 million.[2]

On June 28, 2009, Chuck Saylors became the 113-year-old group's first male president. According to Saylors, only about 10% of the formerly all-female group's members are men.[3]

Local groups doing similar work but that are unassociated with the state and national structure of the National PTA are often known as Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs). A number of other acronyms are used as well. In the United States, roughly 25% of parent groups are PTAs, while the remainder are independent. There are 23,000 local organizations recognized by the National PTA in the United States.[2]

PTAs in the United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom Parent Teacher Associations are common, being present in the majority of schools (sometimes called Home School Associations). An NFER study "How are schools involving parents in school life? Annual survey of trends in education 2007" found that 83 per cent of primary schools, and 60 per cent of secondary schools had a "PTA or equivalent".[4] In England, Wales and Northern Ireland PTAs may choose to join PTA-UK[5] which describes itself as "The national charity representing over 13,750 PTAs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland" which seeks "To advance education by encouraging the fullest co-operation between home and school, education authorities, central government and all other interested parties and bodies." Unlike the USA the fact that a body is called a PTA does not, in itself, imply membership of any national organisation. There is a separate, similar body for Scotland. "The Scottish Parent Teacher Council"[6] PTAs are, in general not involved in the Governance of Schools, that is a matter for the school governing bodies, but in practice parents who are active in the PTA will tend to engage in the elections of parent representatives (Parent Governors).

PTAs Elsewhere[edit]

There are plans to organize a PTA in the United Arab Emirates at governmental schools such as ATHS (Applied Technology High School).

In Australia, the function of PTAs is filled by the Parents and Friends Association (P&F), which is governed by both state and national organisational bodies.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tillman, Elvena B. (January 1, 1971). Edward T. James, ed. Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary: Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. I. Belknap Press. pp. 147–48. ISBN 9780674627345. 
  2. ^ a b "FAQs / PTA Annual Report". National PTA (United States). Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  3. ^ "PTA Welcomes First Male President". NPR story. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "PTA-UK Advancing Education | Supporting PTAs". 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  6. ^ "Scottish Parent Teacher Council - Promoting Partnerships in Scottish Education". Retrieved 2013-08-08. 

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