When you are wrong

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Does the PTA really represent parents?

After the PTA’s support of teacher strikes across the country in the 1960s, there was a significant drop in support for the organization. Across the country the number of PTA members has declined by more than half since the early 1960s from over 12 million to less than 6 million.

The political bent of the PTA is not common knowledge to its membership, but as it becomes known–especially the PTA’s opposition to school choice, charters, and school reform–their membership has furthered declined.

In the Commonwealth there are 1 million kids in K-12. There are 20,000 members of the PTA (down from a high of 100,000 in the 1960s). Only 3 percent of Massachusetts schools have PTAs. So, where are the other parents?

Around 95 percent of schools are either unaffiliated or have PTOs (Parent-Teacher Organizations) that are independent organizations; that is, they are NOT allied to the PTA, and not sending dues to the Chicago HQ and the DC lobbying office.

Uh, I live in Brookline. Ruth Kaplan (the Governor’s “PTA” pick to the Board of Education) lives in Brookline. There is not, to my knowledge, a single school in Brookline with a PTA affiliate.

My dear Michael Driscoll School (K-8) in Washington Square does not have one. Instead, we have a well-functioning PTO. Parents have pizza, parents help fundraise, parents hold events. You know, “mom and apple pie” (and dad, too).

“Mom and apple pie” is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of an organization that sends dues to support the lobbying of the PTA in DC, that represents a miniscule number of parents.

So, the question for Ruth Kaplan and the Governor is: Who does the PTA pick to the BOE really represent? Ah, you really don’t expect me to have to state the obvious! Hey, lazybones, go back and read the previous post if you need a really big hint…