There are many professional organizations that can help literacy experts stay involved in the profession beyond their classroom or school assignment. Students in the spring semester of READ 6325 explored various professional organizations and are sharing what they learned through this blog series.
By S. Garcia
The National Parent Teacher Association, or National PTA offers many programs to help parents, students, and communities succeed. It was founded in Washington DC in 1897 by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. The National PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy in the nation. PTA does not work alone. It works with other national education, health, safety, and child advocacy groups and federal agencies. You can become a member by logging on to www.pta.org and clicking on the membership link and paying a nonrefundable fee of twenty-five dollars. People who become members of a local PTA automatically become members of the national PTA, but there are currently no local chapters. The website gives people the option to become the representative of their own local chapter if they are interested in doing so. There is also a link on the main website that allows anyone interested to give monetary donations. This money will help PTA in continuing to establish training programs for parents and concerned adults to help them learn how to be advocates for their children. The money will help provide resources to parents seeking to change local school practices, facilities, or environments, and support legislation that benefits all children.
The vision of the National PTA is to ‘Make Every Child’s Potential a Reality’. The mission is to be a powerful voice for children, to be a relevant source for families and communities, and to be a strong advocate for the education and well being of every child. Members of NPTA receive a membership card which gives them special discounts. They also receive a one year subscription to Our Children, a magazine that is devoted to everyone who supports student success, and two e-newsletters (PTA Takes Action – a weekly summary of how government action is affecting kids and schools, and PTA Parent – a biweekly collection of articles and links helping parents to get more involved). NPTA has many programs. One is called PTA More. It Stands for PTAs Men Organized to Raise Engagement. It works with schools and communities to provide programs that engage fathers and positive male figures in the education and social development of their children. Another Program is called PTA Goes to Work. This program works hand in hand with the United States Department of Labor to help students that are interested in attending college or are eager to go into the workforce immediately after high school. Another significant program is the Afterschool Alliance. This program supports federal and state incentives for high quality child care and preschool programs that are both affordable and easily accessible. This is in response to the belief that children who are unsupervised after school are at a higher risk of getting poor grades, abusing drugs, becoming the victims of crime, and engaging in sexual activity. They are missing out on contact with caring adults within safe environments.
The National PTA holds an annual convention as well as state conventions. This information can be found on the website’s calendar. The NPTA believes they can make their vision a reality by accomplishing their mission.