THE LOCAL PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION
The PTA at the local level is linked to the Oklahoma PTA and National PTA, forming a nationwide network of members working on behalf of all children and youth. Because of its connections to the Oklahoma and National PTAs, the local PTA is a valuable resource to its school community with (1) access to programs to benefit children, youth, and their families, and (2) the recognition and size to influence the formulation of laws, policies, and practices—education or legislative.
Types of PTAs
Early Childhood PTAs
Preschool groups often round up parents from several neighborhoods and various early-childhood programs. They involve child-care providers, grandparents, and others concerned with the education and development of children from birth to age five.
Elementary/Middle School PTAs
PTAs serve as a type of forum where parents, teachers, administrators, and other concerned adults discuss ways to promote quality education, strive to expand the arts, encourage community involvement, and work for a healthy environment and safe neighborhoods.
Parent-Teacher-Student Associations (PTSAs)
PTSAs actually provide youth members with the opportunity to make a difference by developing leadership skills, learning about the legislative process, increasing their self-esteem, and contributing to the school. In turn, adult members gain a new perspective for program development, as well as acquire a better understanding of the youth of today.
Special Education PTAs
National PTA believes that all children have the right to a quality public education, which allows each child the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential. Special Education PTAs are designed to help parents advocate for special-needs children.
All Parent Groups Are NOT the Same
Many local groups focus solely on fundraising. Some parent organizations are even owned and operated by a privately held for-profit business, run more for profit than for helping children. In contrast to other parent groups, PTAs have a broader role to play in the education of children, far beyond fundraising.
We at PTA know that advocacy works. If our members choose to get involved by working on issues that affect their children and schools, members receive the information and training they need to work effectively at the local, state, and national levels for school funding, school construction, school safety, high-quality teachers, high nutrition standards in school lunch programs, after-school programs, and more. These efforts benefit all children, including those whose parents are members of non-PTA parent groups.
PTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Other independent parent groups must either complete a complicated process to file for tax exempt status on their own or file taxes on all revenues received.
PTA Membership Is Open To Everyone
PTA is an inclusive organization that is open to all adults who care about children and schools. We actively invite all parents to participate in PTA, and work hard to bring mothers, fathers, teachers, school administrators, grandparents, mentors, foster parents, other caregivers, and community leaders into the organization.
Dues and Benefits
PTA members pay dues that include a small portion for the state and national offices. In return, local PTAs and members receive access to many valuable resources, information, and training programs.
Benefits for local PTAs include:
The annual National PTA Official Back-To-School Kit, containing finance, membership, programs, fundraising, advocacy, and communications information; A variety of reproducible brochures; PowerPoint presentations and scripts; Public service announcements; and more; A subscription for the local PTA president to Our Children magazine, which includes PTA best practices, tips for running a PTA, and a reproducible parent involvement newsletter in English and Spanish (additional subscriptions are available at the discounted member rate); National PTA Annual Convention registration information; and Select resources developed in collaboration with National PTA’s partners. Benefits for individual members include: Online resources, including Our Children magazine, full of parenting tips; Electronic newsletters to keep members informed of parenting and legislative issues; Special discounts and offers from National PTA Member Benefits Providers, Leadership training available online through e-learning courses and in-person at the National PTA Annual Convention and leadership workshops; Discounted rates for convention, Our Children magazine, and more; Member-to-Member Network, connecting PTA to Congress; and Various other benefits from Oklahoma PTA or the individual’s own state PTA. As a local affiliate of a national organization, local PTAs may be eligible for discounted insurance for special events that are not covered by the school insurance. Non-PTA parent groups usually must purchase more expensive insurance policies to cover special events and liabilities or leave their members at risk.