If you strip away all that you’ve heard about when, where, and how to recruit PTA members, you may still find yourself grappling with the question of WHY? Why does it matter? The answer is this:
Our power lies in our collective voice.
As a member of your local PTA, you also belong to National PTA, the oldest and largest child advocacy organization in the country. Since it was founded in 1897, National PTA has been responsible for the establishment of programs and the passage of legislation for many things we all take for granted today, such as public kindergarten, child labor laws, the public health service, juvenile justice system, hot lunches in schools, mandatory immunizations, and school bus safety regulations. Don’t forget PTA’s impact on arts in schools: Reflections is the oldest and largest children’s arts program in the country. And many people don’t realize that “Teacher Appreciation Week” is actually a National PTA program started back in 1984!
National PTA’s impact on the American landscape is significant and ongoing. But how in the world can a group of volunteers drive such sweeping changes? Through PTA membership. When you become a PTA member, you demonstrate your support for the work of National PTA on behalf of all children. You allow your voice to be added to the voices of nearly four million other members and, together, that “collective voice” enables National PTA to more successfully advocate for the next generation.
But it’s not just at a national level. Here in our state, we are all part of Washington State PTA (WSPTA), which was also founded more than one hundred years ago, in 1905. And what impact has WSPTA made on our lives? For starters, WSPTA coined the term, “preschool,” more than 60 years ago! During World War II, WSPTA arranged care for children while mothers went to work in the factories – and that’s if those mothers weren’t busy taking PTA-organized shifts at area watch towers, scanning the skies for enemy aircraft. Around the same time, WSPTA first organized kindergarten co-ops.
And today, all of these years later, WSPTA remains a powerful advocate for all children. In recent years, we were instrumental in the passage of the “simple majority” amendment for levies. This past legislative session, proud PTA members of all ages stood alongside Governor Inslee as he signed into law, “Breakfast After the Bell,” a culmination of several years of PTA advocacy and testimony on this important issue.
Finally, at the heart of it all is your local PTA. Membership is your collective voice. When people become members of your local PTA, they are demonstrating their support for the work you do, and they are adding their voice to the mission you represent. The louder your voice (the more members you have), the more likely your PTA is to literally and figuratively get “a seat at the table.” In your city, in your school district, in your school building. Whether there’s a complicated issue that needs solving or a great new opportunity for students, a PTA with a strong collective voice is part of the decision-making process. That is PTA Power. And that is why membership matters.