Parent Teacher organizations, how many of us have an expectation of them?
I'm on the board. When I joined, I joined expecting to change the governed circumstance. I was elected to make things happen. Or so I thought.
Things have been different. So far, we have raised funds and coordinated events. I'm waiting for change. We have long endless meetings where people state their views, but they get put aside by countless matters.
The board itself has a meeting before hand to collect itself and contain itself to important issues at hand. What those are, are what's debatable. Fund raising, no doubt, seems to be a priority. Secondary, is school events.
What happened to parent issues? Parents joining PTO to enact change have taken a back seat to all these other curtails. Now PTO is expecting you to sign up for many volunteer committees. No longer can you just go and voice your opinion!
PTO has evolved into an organization of involvement within our community. If your not involved, don't expect your opinion to matter much; and the majority does rule. Most of the time, the board members do the majority of the work. The leadership isn't exactly the best, and people are not sure what they are supposed to be looking for from a PTO.
They end up following the flow, leaving much to be said. What can be done?
Its usually a stereotypical group of people that lead the flow. To break that is not easy. Us parents are the leaders, and we are the ones that must take a stand. Change is never easy. Voices must be heard, then followed.
I'm a board member and I struggle to be heard. I struggle with the bureaucracy. I struggle with the system. I want to be heard!
What do we do? PTO's exist to support the school in accomplishing its goals, and compliments its actions by providing services to parents, teachers and students. The PTO is supposed to be a supportive network for the parents to utilize, along with the school. In most cases it does serve such a purpose. There is a need for a PTO in our school systems. What matters is how it is run.
Likewise, there is citywide PTO which serves as a network of PTO's across districts. Usually each district has an accompanying representative at each meeting to discuss whatever issues at hand. This is a great cross-section of PTO's and a lot more gets done at these meetings than do at local districts. One has more of a chance to enact change here than anywhere else.
All in all, PTO meetings can be an outlet for change and can be a powerful resource in the community. It all depends how they are run; who they are run by; the commitment of the officers and members; funding and most of all their goals. Every PTO has a different agenda, but they seem to come together at citywide PTO. We shouldn't loose faith in our PTO's, for support is the driving force behind them. On the other hand, we should take a stand for the right to speak up and be represented. Change is a good thing, and is no doubt needed in many aspects of our schools. We the parents deserve to be heard and need an outlet for expression; that's where PTO comes in.
Check out your next PTO meeting. Speak up. Voice your opinion. It matters. You matter. You owe it to yourself and your kids. Wouldn't you agree?
-- Amazing Gaze