Parent-Teacher Association

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National PTA
Full name National Parent Teacher Association
Founded 1897 (1897)
Affiliation Education International
Key people Laura Bay, president
Office location Alexandria, Virginia
Country United States

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.

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 organization based in Alexandria, Virginia. It is the largest and oldest volunteer organization working exclusively on behalf of children and youth.

PTA’s commitment to unified advocacy on behalf of all the nation’s children is best reflected in its motto: Every child. One voice. The overall purpose of PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Groups going by the PTA acronym at the local level are linked to the state PTA and the national PTA organization (National PTA), with the entire PTA network working on behalf of all children and youth. Every person who joins a local PTA automatically becomes a member of both the state and National PTAs, and PTA membership—including the number of affiliated units and of individual members—is close to 5 million.

PTA takes an active role in developing programs, advocacy and training, operating at the school building, district, state and national levels and working on policy that supports the educational needs of children and promotes family engagement and strong partnerships between schools and the communities they serve. Local PTA units set their own goals and missions, but they also join together to advocate and partner as a larger group. PTA is membership based and uses money from dues to offer staff support and grants and to develop national programs like the Reflections Arts in Education program and the Standards for Family-School Partnerships implementation guide.

Most public and private elementary and middle 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.

Today, there are 54 PTA congresses: U.S. states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Europe (military families, through the U.S. Department of Defense). There are 23,000 local organizations recognized by the National PTA in the United States.[1]


  • The Reflections Arts in Education Program:[2] The National Parent Teacher Association Reflections program encourages students to explore the arts and express themselves by giving positive recognition for their artistic efforts. Since it was founded in 1969 by Mary Lou Anderson, millions of students have benefited from this program. Through the Reflections Awards Program, your PTA can play a role in providing a positive learning environment for students that fosters self-exploration, encourages creative thinking and problem-solving, and promotes the exploration of arts and culture in the home, school and community. Any active PTA/PTSA in good standing is eligible to implement a Reflections Program.

PTA History[edit]

Early History[edit]

The National Parent Teacher Association was founded on February 17, 1897,[3] 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.[4] In 1908, the organization changed its name to the National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations..[4]

Alice Birney’s original vision and Phoebe Hearst’s (wife of California U.S. Senator George Hearst and mother of publisher William Randolph Hearst) social and financial assistance came together in a burst of synergy that drew 2,000 people from across the country to discuss the issues affecting their children at the three-day event. The National Congress of Mothers quickly fanned out into a grassroots organization at state, local and nation levels.

History Highlights[edit]

  • In 1908, the organization delegates voted to change its name to the National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations.[5]
  • In 1910, charter and board member, Mary Grinnell Mears, moved that “Founders Day be observed every February 17th of the year…”[6]
  • In 1925 the association adopted the name the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.
  • In 1926, National PTA President Mrs. A. H. Reeve[7] helped set up the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers to function in the District of Columbia and states where separate schools for the races were maintained, so that African-American children might have PTA service. On May 7, the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers was formed.
  • In 1966, National PTA registered the terms PTA and Parent-Teacher Association as service marks with the U.S. government.
  • In 1970, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (National PTA) and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT)—founded by Selena Sloan Butler in Atlanta, Ga.—merged to serve all children.[8]

PTA Takes Action[edit]


From an annual gathering of delegates determined to serve the nation’s children through an enlightened approach to education, home, environment, health and safety the National Congress of Mothers, now National Parent Teacher Association fanned out into a grassroots organization that took hold on the state and local levels as well as nationally. There were pamphlets written and distributed advising on how to organize “parents’ auxiliaries” in the public schools and offering suggestions on the best ways to form and meet, and collections of loaned materials on child-development and parenting skills were made available to parents.

The role of PTA has always been to advocate for improvements in the lives of children and youth. The PTA’s strength has helped institute countless positive changes, from the institution of school lunch and inoculation programs to the institution of child labor laws to the promotion of transportation safety, sex education, tobacco and alcohol education, and more. Even today, PTA is actively involved in working toward common goals, fighting for increased federal education funding and against school vouchers.

National PTA's Annual Public Policy[edit]

Public Policy Agenda: National PTA's annual public policy agenda outlines policy priorities and recommendations for Congress. The priorities are selected based on the timeliness of issue, opportunities for National PTA to provide leadership and expertise to Congress, alignment to National PTA’s mission and resolution and ability to achieve a meaningful policy change that will produce positive results for children and their families.

PTAs Our Children Magazine[edit]

The first issue of National Parent Teacher Association's Our Children Magazine—then named The National Congress of Mothers Magazine[9]—was printed in November 1906. The purpose of the magazine was to give voice to National PTA’s ambitions and to spread the word of its work and mission.

The magazine’s title was changed in December 1909 to Child Welfare, when its focus was solely on the organization’s main concern. By the 1930s, the sophistication of the magazine grew tremendously as it then featured in-depth articles by leading experts in fields such as education, health and child welfare. These works were illustrated by bountiful photos and lively pen-and-ink illustrations. Starting in September 1934, the magazine received another makeover where it was published in an oversized format and renamed as the National Parent-Teacher, “to more definitely associate the publication with the parent-teacher movement.”

More changes came in 1961 with another new name—The PTA Magazine—under the editorial leadership of Eva Grant. She led the magazine to its period of widest influence and greatest circulation from 1939-1972. During that time, the magazine featured prominent regular contributors such as J. Edgar Hoover and Margaret Mead, and offered more information for parents than ever before.

In 1975, The PTA Magazine was replaced by PTA Today, a more modest publication that evolved out of the former National PTA Bulletin and appeared in tabloid form during its first three years. Eventually, PTA Today returned to a typical magazine format that was circulated mostly to local PTA units and kept them abreast of National PTA events and programs and provided useful parenting information.

The final major makeover took place in September 1995 when it was made more colorful and became Our Children in line with the founders’ theme of the first convention that “All Children Are Our Children.” In recent years, Our Children was published bi-monthly, five times per year and distributed to local and state PTA presidents, state PTA board members, state office personnel and a limited number of paid subscribers.

In fall 2015, Our Children will make the move to a digital online format that will be geared towards parents. It will be a monthly online publication, with one print edition distribution in the spring.

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".[10] In England, Wales and Northern Ireland PTAs may choose to join PTA-UK[11] 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"[12] 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 in India[edit]

USA is believed to be the world pioneer for the formation of PTAs. Other nations too followed USA in the formation of PTAs to facilitate the school community cooperation and interface for exchanging ideas that will help in giving a realistic and more sympathetic deal to students.[13] Indian Schools also have adopted PTAs which has grown significantly due to government initiatives to create general awareness about PTA among the parents, teachers and the school management. Similar to U.K, PTA in India is not a national organisation, rather it is a voluntary organisation of teachers, parents of their students, as within a school, to promote mutual understanding and to increase the effectiveness of the educational programs.

National Policy on Education, 1986[edit]

The National Policy on Education, 1986 has clearly mentioned that refurbishing the system of planning and management of education will receive high priority. The NPE states that 'giving pre-eminence to people's involvement including association of non-governmental and voluntary effort' as a necessary condition for achieving the purpose of revamping the school management and planning system. People's involvement should mean not only involvement of NGOs, corporate sectors but also parents, development agencies, professionally qualified teachers financial bodies and educational processes at all levels.Alongside it should steer clear of any interplay of local politics into educational institute.[14]

Government Schemes promoting PTAs[edit]

In its various schemes under Education like RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan) and SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) the government has advocated community mobilisation and involvement. Under RMSA every school should have a PTA.The SDMCs (State District Management Committees) should co-exist with PTAs and leverage its functions. PTAs which should conduct meetings at least once a month and present before SDMCs a register containing complaints and suggestions and actions taken on the same. As per UDISE 2013-14 37.54% schools in India have a PTA.[15] Based on a sample study on the responses of PTA and SSA conducted by Programme Evaluation Organisation(POE) in May 2010, only 50% parents in rural areas and 45% in urban areas were aware of the existence of PTAs in schools and hence their role as one of the primary stakeholders was limited.[16]

State Guidelines on Functioning of PTAs[edit]

The State governments of India have also issued guiding principles under which PTAs have been mandatory in some states. Guidelines for few Indian States are mentioned below:


PTA has been mandatory in all schools in Maharashtra in accordance with the decision of the government dated 16 May 1996. 50% of the schools in Maharashtra have a PTA.[17]

  • Parents of every students will be a member of PTA.
  • The purpose is to solve problems experienced by students and teachers in schools.
  • The PTA does not interfere in the day-to-day administration of the schools.
  • The structure of PTA consists of President, Vice-President, Secretary,Joint secretary and parent members. 50% of the members should be women.The membership shall be of two years. No position of responsibility in the association will be provided for five years for the person in event of his being an office bearer once.
  • Duties of the committee involve assisting the school in planning and organising educational programs, seeing the syllabus is completed, to collect information regarding school fees, term fees, fees for other educational programs and to present it to the working committee of the association in order to bring transparency in the fixation of fees.



Government of NCT, Delhi, Directorate of Education has issued guidelines making the PTA mandatory in Government aided and Private unaided schools to promote welfare of children at home, school and community. All parents are members of PTA. The PTA consists of a General body and Executive Committee. General Body consists of the parent members, Principal and vice-principal. The Executive body consists of Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary, Joint Secretary, Treasurer, and 9 Parent members. The elections for the association takes place in every alternate year in April beginning academic year 10-11. The general body of the association meets at least once a year. The executive body meets as per requirements and at least once in two months.[19] 78.21% of the schools in Delhi have a PTA.[17]

Madhya Pradesh[edit]

Decentralisation of school management was promoted though setting up of PTAs under SSA. Till date the number of PTAs in Madhya Pradesh is 103546. PTAs in Madhya Pradesh are in an infant stage. Functions include motivating the school drop outs/ out of school children to join back schools, monitoring of mid day meals/scholarships and other schemes, assessment of quality of education and sharing with parents and village panchayats,improving school environment by ensuring better hygiene in schools, preparing school development plans and mobilizing resources,provide a feedback mechanism for better interaction between school teachers and parents for student welfare, management of the financial grants and funds for school development. As per a survey on SSA by the government of Madhya Pradesh, only 25% of the parents were aware of the existence of PTAs in schools. About 43% of the schools have functional PTAs and 39% are organising regular PTA meetings to discuss matters for school development.[20]

Tamil Nadu[edit]

The objective is ensure enrollment of all school going in nearby schools, prevent the drop out rate, and help school to enhance the quality of teaching learning experiences. Question banks, booklets, model question for Standard X and XII are printed and distributed and award cash prizes to schools which produced 100% results in Board exams.[21]

Overall Scenario of PTAs in India[edit]

States Aware of PTA(%) Members of PTA(%) Willing to become Members of PTA (%)
Andhra Pradesh 62.5 20.0 60.8
Assam 55.8 9.17 90.8
Chandigarh 25.0 10.0 45.0
Haryana 22.5 5.0 41.4
Bihar 85.0 26.7 80.8
Tamil Nadu 77.5 25.0 96.7
Himachal Pradesh 40.0 17.1 36.2
Rajasthan 43.3 9.2 33.3
Uttar Pradesh 7.6 2.4 18.2
West Bengal 60.0 15.0 58.7
All States 50.3 16.2 55.5

As per a survey conducted on SSA under the government of India, only 50% of the respondents were aware of the PTAs/ MTAs(Mother Teacher Associations). Even though the parents were regular visitors to the school, they were unaware of the PTAs because non of the schools display the names of PTA members. Awareness regarding PTA was poor in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The parents were reported to be involved in Mid day meals and teaching. In Uttar Pradesh fewer parents were aware of the PTAs and were not inclined in becoming members of the PTAs. In Bihar awareness of PTAs was reported high. With the average of awareness of PTA being 50% and membership as low as 16%, PTAs need to be made more effective.[22] The PTA in India is in a nascent stage.PTA can play a primary role in the improvement of school education.

PTAs Around the World[edit]

There are plans to organize a PTA in the United Arab Emirates at governmental schools such as ATHS (Applied Technology High School). They are present in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. It is called the Parents and Citizens' Association in Australia and New Zealand. ( 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. ^ "FAQs / PTA Annual Report". National PTA (United States). Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  2. ^ Bassi, Robert A; Herzog, Susan E.; Morris, Robert R. (1997). The PTA Story: A Century of Commitment to Children. Walsworth Publishing Company, Inc. p. 143. ISBN 9780881090017. 
  3. ^ "National PTA History". Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Bassi, Robert A.; Herzog, Susan E.; Morris, Robert R. The PTA Story: A Century of Commitment to Children. p. 26. ISBN 9780881090017. 
  6. ^ PTA History: 1910-1919  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ PTA History: 1920-1929 Retrieved 24 September 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Bassi, Robert A.; Herzog, Suzan E.; Morris, Robert R. The PTA Story: A Century of Commitment to Children. p. 51. ISBN 9780881090017. 
  9. ^ Bassi, Robert A.; Herzog, Susan E.; Morris, Robert R. The PTA Story: A Century of Commitment to Children. Walsworth Publishing Company, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 9780881090017. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "PTA-UK Advancing Education | Supporting PTAs". 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  12. ^ "Scottish Parent Teacher Council - Promoting Partnerships in Scottish Education". Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  13. ^ Mohanty, Jagannath (2005). Educational Management Supervision. Hyderabad: Neelkamal Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 338. 
  14. ^ "National Policy on Education, 1986" (PDF). p. 182.  External link in |website= (help)
  15. ^ "Secondary Education in India, State Report Cards 2013-14" (PDF). 
  16. ^ "Evaluation of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, May 2010" (PDF).  External link in |website= (help)
  17. ^ a b "" (PDF).  External link in |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Guiding principles for establishing -Teachers Associations In the recognized permanent private non-aided schools from the state of Maharashtra" (PDF).  External link in |website= (help)
  19. ^ "DoE, Delhi PTA" (PDF).  External link in |website= (help)
  20. ^ "Field Survey by Samarthan, centre for development support, Bhopal" (PDF).  External link in |website= (help)
  21. ^ (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help)
  22. ^ "Evaluation on Sarva Siksha Abhiyan" (PDF).  External link in |website= (help)

External links[edit]