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Saturday, August 2, 2008


If you're big-time into PTA, you may not like my attitude in this post ... Mind you, I'm okay with the PTA, I just won't pay to join it. (Any of you local people reading my blog may be confused by this statement since I'm on the PTA executive board this year. I suppose I should back up ...)

So, every year (three now) that I've signed up kids for elementary school, they've asked if I'd like to join PTA. And every year I've said no. I repeatedly tell them that I'm happy to help with anything, but I'm not going to pay to volunteer. What they don't hear is that I don't want to support an organization that I don't always agree with. (A bit ago the new national PTA president had a gay son and tried to get all kinds of gay acceptance and programs in schools. Let's face it -- PTA focuses mainly on elementary schools, and although I disagree gay clubs and such at the high school and jr high level, I am STRONGLY opposed to anything like that at the elementary level.) In any case, from that point on I decided I wouldn't join PTA and fund an organization whose values may at times be questionable.

Anyway, at the end of last school year the PTA president of the jr high realized that I was a willing helper, so I got called to help with several events and activities, which I readily did. They asked if I would be on the board this year, and I said, "Sure -- as long as I don't have to join PTA." Of course, that's an obligation they require. I mentioned that I didn't want to fund the national organization, and that I was happy to help if I didn't have to do that. They left it there and I thought I was off the hook.

Then I received a call from the elementary school's PTA. (Yes, this was news to me -- you don't join THE PTA. You pay to join the elementary school PTA AND the jr high PTA if you want to be members of both. Isn't that even more ridiculous than joining once?!?) Anyway, they asked if I would be on their board next year. I gave them the same schpeal about not wanting to fund an organization that I didn't agree with, but that I'd be happy to help with anything they need.

The lady apparently was desperate, because she asked if I would pay the part that stays at the school if she paid the part that went to national PTA. (You pay $5 to join, and $3 of it goes to HQ. What does our local school get for that $3? Pretty much nothing but a bunch of materials parents don't really care about.) If you can believe it, I agreed. She said I would be the publicity VP, and that I should be excited, because it was an executive position. Little did she know that nothing about PTA is really exciting to me ... except maybe the thought of shaking it up ... (I guess they should be really glad I'm too lazy/tired to shake them up right now. :)

Some of these ladies at the meetings act like they're in a professional career, and that somehow the PTA is the most important thing ever! Really, I don't care. I think it's nice that we arrange things with the teachers and get parents involved. However, I don't think it takes the PTA to arrange that. I think we could have a generic parent teacher organization to do the same thing -- and keep the $5 all here in the school.

Mind you, I haven't brought up this idea yet as I've been to only two meetings. I'm just giggling inside at the thought of bringing it up and imagining the glares I'll get, especially from one lady in particular who is VERY passionate about the PTA. If I decide to do that at a board meeting at some point throughout the school year, I'll have to let you know how it goes.

For now I'll enjoy my "reduced-rate" executive position of doing publicity. Their idea of publicity is not at all what I imagined it would be, so I'll make sure to shake that up first. Fortunately we have a cool president this year who seems very lax about how things will happen. I'm hoping at some point I'll see the point of paying national dues, but I'm guessing I'll keep leaning toward a PTO and keep pondering how to get that to fly. Worst-case scenario? They call me an insurgent and kick me out of the PTA and NEVER ask such a rebel to be on the board again, :) in which case I volunteer for free as usual.


Jessica said...

I won't pay to join the PTA either. I still get plenty of volunteering in without the official card and I could go to the meetings if I really wanted. Who needs the card?!?!

Dashley said...

You crack me up Denise. I really do admire (and fantastically enjoy) your take on life. Do let us know if you bring your rebelliousness to the table at one of your meetings!

Stacey said...

I so agree on your PTA thoughts. Are last elementary school in the same school district had PTO and it is much better than PTA! I refuse to pay the dues and at least you offer to help...I don't even do that. My neighbors are on the PTA board and they are the neighbor's who drive me insane. The co-president has even lead neighbors to believe that I'm a racist after I stood up to this old lady who was insulting me who happened to be black. The lady had been driving everyone in the neighborhood insane and I was the only one who finally stood up to her. Then the other lady that lives behind me has the kids that to her are perfect but, to the rest of us they are little devils. It is hard to be nice to them let alone try to help them when you don't like them and you don't agree with PTA! What's a Mom to do?!!!lol I guess I need to work on charity and forgiveness huh?!!!lol