Too much of parents’ money is going to far-left advocacy campaigns in Washington, D.C. Not your local school.
One of the first documents parents receive at the beginning of the school year is a form to sign up for the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). Most parents don’t think twice about completing the form and sending in their check. Of course, parents want to support teachers and the school to be sure their children get the best education possible.
But if parents knew where most of their PTA money was going, they’d reconsider completing that membership form.
The cost to join a PTA varies by locality, but in all instances $2.25 of all dues collected from each membership will be given to the National PTA, while another portion is sent to other affiliates. For example, in Colorado, $6.25 is sent to the state organization to distribute to the national, state, and regional councils. If a local PTA charges $10 per member, then less than 40 percent of the dues benefit the local school.
What does the $2.25 in membership dues sent to the National PTA pay for? In the group’s FAQ section it indicates that funds go toward “advocacy expenses to advance our public policy priorities.” In 2020, $1.8 million of the $7.7 million raised for the National PTA went to ten highly paid directors and officers of the organization. They also spent $2.9 million on lobbying over a 4-year period and the national PTA also maintains a legislative office in D.C.
Here are some of the policy priorities of the National PTA:
- Ban semi-automatic weapons
- Provide resources of organizations that provide “safe space kits” that instruct teachers how to keep gender and sexuality secrets from parents
- Support illegal immigration
- Oppose education freedom legislation such as tax dollars following the student.
- Oppose prayer at any school functions
- Support providing educational materials to children related to gender identity.
- Promote PBIS, a behavioral program that promotes rewards rather than consequences for misbehavior
Many state PTAs follow in the footsteps of supporting legislative issues of the national organization, but some go even further. For example, the Colorado PTA opposed state legislation on medical freedom, school choice, and Second Amendment gun rights and supported the Marxist teachings of critical race theory.
The California PTA advocated for legislation that would permit a child as young as 12 years old to elect to get an abortion without her parents knowing. Additionally, in New Jersey, Planned Parenthood indicates on their website that they work with PTAs to hold workshops for children on the topic of sex.
Using Students to Fundraise
Many PTAs across the nation utilize “fun runs” as a part of their fundraising efforts in schools. Rather than planning the events directly with PTA volunteers, outside for-profit businesses are contracted by the PTA to organize the fun runs. Unfortunately, donors are not informed that in most cases 50 percent or more of the funds are given to these outside contractors.
Boosterthon is one of the popular organizations used by PTAs for these fundraisers. Boosterthon uses a rewards system to coerce kids during the school day to get pledges. Kids are provided rewards based upon the number of pledges they get and these rewards are delivered to the students during class creating peer pressure to perform. A Boosterthon contract in one Kentucky elementary school required a lump sum of $2,000 up front and the school only received 50 percent of all donations raised by its students.
Apex is another organization that contracts with PTAs to implement the fun runs. An Apex contract in a California school included a two-week character and leadership program ending with a fun run. The Apex employees would spend up to 6 hours per day at the school and they would receive 50 percent of the donations, up to $10,000. The Apex website states that they spend as much as 300 hours in the schools “developing trust and building relationships with students and staff.”
Nowhere on the website does it discuss background checks. An Apex franchisee owner in North Carolina was arrested for sexually assaulting a child.
Why are PTAs using children as pawns to raise money and potentially exposing them to outside individuals coming into the schools who may not have been properly screened? How many hours of learning time are being wasted on bribing children to ask adults for money?
An Alternative to PTAs
It’s unfortunate that the once-effective and important PTA organization has succumbed to wokeness, but there are alternatives. It’s important for parents to be active in their kids’ schools and parents can still partner with teachers to fundraise, volunteer and be a part of school life without strings attached to the National and State PTA organizations.
Parents can opt to create their own parent-teacher organization, also known as a PTO. (This is a generic term and not necessarily affiliated with a national organization.) When creating an independent PTO, all monies raised stay directly at the school. There is no required donation to a national organization who will use the money for lobbying and leftist political indoctrination.
It is time for parents to just say no to the application that comes home to join the PTA. Start your own PTO or just give money directly to the school. Needed supplies can also be purchased and given directly to the school rather than forking over cash that will be given to lobby against gun rights and school choice. Continue to be vigilant of the ever-changing school environment. The once-reliable organizations that were student focused and well-intentioned have now become pawns for leftist ideology.
Victoria Manning is the vice president of Students First VA and an elected member of the Virginia Beach School Board