The main role of the local PTA is to build strong working relationships among parents, teachers and schools, in support of students. This can include recruiting and coordinating volunteers, providing special recognition in awards ceremonies or through other activities, organizing parent education events, planning teacher appreciation activities and much more.
The PTA is sometimes perceived as a fundraising group, but according to the organization, this is not its primary responsibility. Nonetheless, in states where schools face tough budget restrictions, the parents in the local PTA may raise funds for everything from playground equipment to salaries for elementary music teachers. At schools where the PTA raises a significant portion of the school’s discretionary money, the PTA has a lot of power to influence which programs are funded. Ideally the PTA will work with the principal and the school site council to decide jointly which programs will most benefit the school.
Local school PTA meetings can serve as venues for discussions about a variety of educational issues. Teachers may talk to the parent community about a new reading program or student discipline issues. Experts from the community may talk about building better relationships with adolescents, or share important information about school reform initiatives. Parents may raise concerns about such things as homework or proposed changes in the school curriculum. The PTA can also provide a powerful mediating function, providing a neutral forum for resolving conflicts that sometimes occur in schools around controversial issues.