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Parent–teacher association

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A parent–teacher association/organization (PTA/PTO), parent–teacher–friend association (PTFA),[1][2] or parent–teacher–student association (PTSA) is a formal organization comprising parents, teachers and staff that is intended to facilitate parental participation in a school.

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

In Australia, the function of PTAs is filled by parents and citizens associations, which are governed by both state and national organizational bodies.[3]


National Policy on Education, 1986[edit]

"A 1992 'Program on Action' for the 1986 National Policy on Education encouraged giving pre-eminence to people's involvement, including the association of non-governmental and voluntary efforts.[4]

Government schemes[edit]

Government education schemes such as Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have advocated for community mobilization and involvement. RMSA dictates that every school should have a PTA, School Development Management Committees (SDMCs) should co-exist with PTAs and leverage their functions, PTAs should conduct meetings at least once a month and present SDMCs with a register of complaints, suggestions, and actions taken.[5] From 2013 to 2014, 37.54 percent of schools in India had a PTA.[6] A 2010 study suggested that 50% of parents in rural areas and 45% in urban areas were aware of the existence of school PTAs.[7]

State guidelines[edit]


In 1996, the Maharashtra government declared PTAs mandatory for all schools within the state. By 2014, 50% of the schools had a PTA.[6] State guidelines for PTAs include:

  • The parents of every student shall be members of a PTA
  • The PTA does not interfere in the day-to-day administration of the schools
  • 50% of PTA members should be women
  • The duties of the PTA committee should involve assisting the school in planning and organizing educational programs, monitoring the completion of syllabi, and collecting/presenting information regarding school fees[8]


The government of Delhi made PTAs mandatory in government-aided and private unaided schools. All parents are members of the PTA. Elections should be held every other year, and the PTA should hold a general meeting at least once a year.[9] 78.21% of the schools in Delhi have a PTA.[6]

Madhya Pradesh[edit]

Decentralization of school management was promoted through the installation of PTAs under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. A 2016 government report stated that 25% of parents were aware of the existence of PTAs, 43% of schools had PTAs, and 39% of PTAs met regularly.[10]

Tamil Nadu[edit]

Tamil Nadu government policy dictates that PTAs should work towards pupil enrolments and attendance as well as assist in enhancing the quality of teaching and learning.[11]

PTAs in India[edit]

A 2010 survey of parents of schoolchildren for the government of India reported that 50% of respondents were aware of PTAs or MTAs (Mother Teacher Associations) and 16% were members.[12]

State Aware of PTA (%) Members of PTA (%) Willing to join PTA (%)
Andhra Pradesh 62.5 20.0 60.8
Assam 55.8 9.17 90.8
Bihar 85.0 26.7 80.8
Chandigarh 70.0 10.0 45.0
Haryana 22.5 5.0 41.4
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

United Arab Emirates[edit]

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

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, parent–teacher associations are common and present in the majority of schools. They are sometimes referred to as home school associations. A 2007 NFER study found that 83% of primary schools in England and Wales and 60% of secondary schools had a "PTA or equivalent".[13]

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, PTAs may choose to join Parentkind,[14] which describes itself as "the national charity representing over 13,750 PTAs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland" that 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 with any national organization. There is a separate, similar body for Scotland entitled "The Scottish Parent Teacher Council".[15]

PTAs are generally not involved in the management 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 election of parent representatives (parent governors).



When the modern school system was introduced to Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the cost of establishing and maintaining each school was considered to be mainly borne by town and village expenses, but school budgets were not necessarily abundant. To reduce the financial and labor burden on school management, many voluntary groups such as Parents Association and Mothers' Association were formed by parents of students attending school and residents of school districts.

Since the Showa 10's (1935), due to the intensification of World War II and the subsequent confusion, group activities had stagnated temporarily. After the end of the war, the activities started again. Activities and movements anticipating the spirit of the later PTA were also attempted across various locations.

In the spring of Showa 21 (1946), the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers announced the Report of the United States Education Mission to Japan. In the report, ideas that extend to the PTA were presented. In October Showa 27 (1952), the Japan Parents and Teachers National Association Formation Conference was held in Tokyo, and the Japan PTA National Assembly was formed.

United States[edit]


National Parent Teacher Association
Formation17 February 1897; 127 years ago (1897-02-17) (as National Congress of Mothers)
Washington, D.C., US
HeadquartersAlexandria, Virginia, U.S.
  • United States
Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director[16]
Key people
Anna King, President
AffiliationsEducation International

In the U.S., PTAs are part of the National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA), a non-profit organization based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Most public and private elementary and middle schools have either a PTA (public schools only), a parent–teacher organization (PTO), or an equivalent local organization. These organizations also exist, although less frequently, at high schools and preschools. Every person who joins a local PTA automatically becomes a member of both the state's PTA and National PTA. 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.[17]


Early history[edit]

The National Parent Teacher Association was founded on 17 February 1897,[19] in Washington, D.C., 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.[20] In 1908, the organization changed its name to the National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations..[20]

Alice Birney's original vision coupled with 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 a three-day event. The National Congress of Mothers quickly fanned out into a grassroots organization at national, state, and local levels.

History notes[edit]

  • In 1908, the organization delegates voted to change its name to the National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations.[21]
  • In 1910, charter and board member, Mary Grinnell Mears, moved that "Founders Day be observed every February 17th of the year…"[22]
  • In 1925, the association adopted the name the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.
  • In 1926, National PTA President Mrs. A. H. Reeve[23] 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 7 May, the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers was formed.
  • In 1966, the 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.[24]


The National Congress of Mothers, now known as the National Parent Teacher Association, became a grassroots organization that influenced the local, state, and national levels. Pamphlets written on how to organize "parents' auxiliaries" in public schools and offer suggestions on formation and meeting were distributed. Collections of loaned materials on child-development and parenting skills were made available to parents. [citation needed]

The PTA has helped institute countless 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, and tobacco and alcohol education. [citation needed]

National PTA's Annual Public Policy

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[citation needed]

Examples include:

  • Creation of Kindergarten classes
  • Child labor laws
  • Public health service
  • Hot and healthy lunch programs
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Mandatory immunization
  • Arts in Education
  • School Safety
  • Special Education
  • Education Funding
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Child nutrition

Our Children magazine[edit]

The first issue of National Parent Teacher Association's Our Children magazine – then named The National Congress of Mothers Magazine[25] – was printed in November 1906. The purpose of the magazine was to voice the 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 as this was the organization's main concern at the time. By the 1930s, the magazine then featured longer articles by leading experts in fields such as education, health and child welfare. 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." [citation needed]

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 to 1972. During that time, the magazine featured prominent regular contributors such as J. Edgar Hoover and Margaret Mead.

In 1975, The PTA Magazine was replaced by PTA Today, publication that evolved from the former National PTA Bulletin and initially appeared in tabloid form for 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 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 moved to a digital online format geared towards parents. It is now a monthly online publication, with one print edition distribution in the spring.

Parent teacher organization[edit]

A parent teacher organization (PTO) is a formal organization that consists of parents, teachers, and school staff. The organization's goals may vary from organization to organization but the core goals include parent volunteerism, teacher and student encouragement, community involvement, and student and family welfare. It is not affiliated with the national Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA).[citation needed] The PTA is a national association of millions of members and thousands of local units that provides leadership training and staff support.

Goals and/or mission statement[edit]

PTO Thrift Shop, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Individual organizations typically establish goals and/or a mission statement. Here is a sample PTO Mission Statement from the New Franklin School PTO:

The New Franklin School PTO is a nonprofit parent/teacher organization whose membership includes all parents, legal guardians and staff at New Franklin Elementary School.

The PTO's mission is to promote open communication and understanding between parents and staff of the New Franklin Elementary School. Our efforts serve to enhance and maximize the education of every child while aiding them in achieving their highest potential.

The PTO sponsors assistance to teachers in classroom setting, holds fund-raisers for supplemental educational materials and experiences, supports school and family social interaction, and provides a non-biased forum for sharing information on issues that impact our children.

It is our belief that the team effort of a parent teacher organization offers the best possible learning environment for our children.[26]

PTO board[edit]

A PTO generally consists of a board. These members may include a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. They may also include various specialty positions, such as hospitality, or programs. The board typically governs the PTO by creating and voting on meeting dates, general meeting programs, etc.

PTO versus PTA[edit]

A PTO is not the same as a parent–teacher association (PTA). They are similar in that both promote parent participation, but the PTA takes a more active role in developing programs, advocacy, and training. PTA operates at the school building, district, state and national levels and works on policy to better support children. 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, such as their Reflections arts in education program and their Standards for Family-School Partnerships implementation guide. A PTO is unaffiliated, local and does not pay dues to a national umbrella organization.


PTOs encourage parent, teacher, and community involvement by providing programs that facilitate various activities, including bicycle safety, drug awareness, energy conservation, reading programs, science programs, math programs, and pedestrian safety.

PTO parents get involved by supporting their students, teachers and staff. Parents can volunteer to be room parents to assist with class parties or field trips. They can help set up at a carnival or health fair. They can help teachers and staff by making copies for the class.

Teachers and staff may become involved by helping to plan events that encourage the education of the students. These may include workshops, tutoring or special family nights (math, science, reading).

The students reap the benefits by the involvement and support of all the adults involved in the PTO. The PTO supports the educational goals of the school, thus extending those goals to the students.

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Plymouth High School for Girls Parents, Teachers, Friends Association". phsg.eschools.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  2. ^ "About Friends of Little Munden (FoLM)". www.folm.org.uk. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  3. ^ "P&C Home Page". Federation of Parents & Citizens Associations NSW. 27 March 2024. Retrieved 9 May 2024.
  4. ^ "National Policy on Education, 1986; Programme on Action 1992" (PDF). Ministry of Human Resource Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 September 2020.
  5. ^ Sharma, Shubh (11 January 2024). "Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA): Complete Breakdown". iDream Education Blog. Retrieved 9 May 2024.
  6. ^ a b c "Secondary Education in India, State Report Cards 2013–14" (PDF). District Information System for Education. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Evaluation of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, May 2010" (PDF). Government of India Planning Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Guiding principles for establishing -Teachers Associations in the recognized permanent private non-aided schools from the state of Maharashtra" (PDF). K12 Schools in India.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "DoE, Delhi PTA" (PDF). Action Committee Unaided Recognized Private Schools. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Field Survey by Samarthan, centre for development support, Bhopal" (PDF). Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Madhya Pradesh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 January 2022.
  11. ^ "School Education Department Policy Notes on Demand No. 43 School Education 2011–2012" (PDF). Investing in Tamil Nadu.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Evaluation on Sarva Siksha Abhiyan" (PDF). Planning Commission, Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2018.
  13. ^ Lewis, K.; Chamberlain, T.; Riggall, A.; Gagg, K; Rudd, P (2007). Annual Survey of Trends in Education 2007: Schools' Concerns and their Implications for Local Authorities (PDF). Slough: National Foundation for Educational Research. p. 2. ISBN 9781905314744. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Parentkind Advancing Education | Supporting PTAs". Parentkind.org.uk. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Scottish Parent Teacher Council – Promoting Partnerships in Scottish Education". Sptc.info. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  16. ^ "National PTA Staff – About PTA – National PTA". Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  17. ^ "FAQs / PTA Annual Report". National PTA (United States). Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  18. ^ "Reflections Arts Program | National PTA". www.pta.org. Retrieved 9 May 2024.
  19. ^ "National PTA History". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  20. ^ a b Tillman, Elvena B. (1 January 1971). Edward T. James (ed.). Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary: Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Vol. I. Belknap Press. pp. 147–48. ISBN 9780674627345.
  21. ^ Bassi, Robert A.; Herzog, Susan E.; Morris, Robert R. (1997). The PTA Story: A Century of Commitment to Children. ERIC Clearinghouse. p. 26. ISBN 9780881090017.
  22. ^ "PTA History: 1910–1919". PTA. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  23. ^ "PTA History: 1920–1929". PTA. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  24. ^ Bassi, Robert A.; Herzog, Suzan E.; Morris, Robert R. (1997). The PTA Story: A Century of Commitment to Children. ERIC Clearinghouse. p. 51. ISBN 9780881090017.
  25. ^ Bassi, Robert A.; Herzog, Susan E.; Morris, Robert R. (1997). The PTA Story: A Century of Commitment to Children. Walsworth Publishing Company, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 9780881090017.
  26. ^ "New Franklin School PTO Mission Statement". New Franklin School PTO. Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Binheim, Max; Elvin, Charles A (1928). Women of the West; a series of biographical sketches of living eminent women in the eleven western states of the United States of America. Retrieved 8 August 2017.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  28. ^ "Javiera Caballero – Latina Voices / Voces de Mujeres Latinas". Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  29. ^ Swain, Ginalie (2004). "Cora Bussey Hillis: Woman of Vision". Iowa Heritage Illustrated. 85 (2): 116–127.
  30. ^ "Biologue of Founder Violet Richardson-Ward". Retrieved 4 October 2017.

External links[edit]