PTA question - Mothering Forums
Learning at School > PTA question
hippiemom2's Avatar hippiemom2 01:34 AM 09-18-2004
My son just started kindergarten and I think it is a good idea to be a member of the PTA. However, my dh refuses to go. He doesn't think he should have to be a member of it when he doesn't want to. (Very mature attitude, right?)

So, here's my question. Is the PTA in your school predominantly women? For those of you who are members of your PTA does this lack of the other sex affect your efforts?

I don't really have much time to donate but dh has much more and could even *gasp* take an active role in his child's education.

Just a little frustrated right now, so I don't mean to come off so bitchy.


amnesiac's Avatar amnesiac 01:43 AM 09-18-2004
I am a member of my boys' school's PTA board & yes, it is predominantly women. We have 2 men on our board & one is a teacher's dh. We accomplish a lot & I don't think it matters that it's mostly moms. Actually we have a grandma too.
RBinTEX's Avatar RBinTEX 01:58 AM 09-18-2004
I've been PTOing for 8 yrs, and a man has never attended our meetings, other than the principal. If I told my husband he'd be guaranteed to be the only man in a room full of women, and all these women would make a big fuss over him for just showing up, I don't think I could stop him from going! He'd want to be the next PTO president! :LOL
Britishmum's Avatar Britishmum 02:12 AM 09-18-2004
IME it is mostly women, but they often get their partners involved in specific duties. Going to sound sexist here, but this is how it worked in most schools that I knew - the board of women might organise, say, a fundraising bbq, and they'd then volunteer their partners for specific tasks, such as setting up tents, getting the bbqs ready etc. They might have a specific meeting to work out those details, with either the whole committee, or a subcommittee with the dads. The dads got to know one another and worked together well, but the mums did most of the committe stuff. I"m not saying that this is right, but it is definitely how most schools seemed to work.

I don't know if my dh would want to sit on a committee where he's the only man, but he'd be very eager to help out with specific tasks and volunteer his time in the class for things he's good at. Maybe your husband could think of specific things he'd like to contribute and do these things directly rather than sit on the committee?

LiamnEmma's Avatar LiamnEmma 03:10 AM 09-18-2004
British Mom, because last night I attended my first PTA meeting as a parent (my mom always took me with her when I was a kid) and other than the principal and a father that another kinder mom had dragged in, it was all women, and there I was, volunteering my dh to put together and install cement tables on Sunday, tools and all! :LOL
hippiemom2's Avatar hippiemom2 02:41 PM 09-18-2004
I guess what really upsets me is that I don't have much free time. I work part-time, go to school full-time, and am active in my church. Dh doesn't have much other than work (although he does work full-time). He has agreed to volunteer for field trips in ds class but that is all he is willing to do. Why should it just be me who is involved in my ds PTA? It is the parent's organization not the MTA (mamas and teachers association). This is an extremely sexist attitude that he holds that I never knew about and it is really irritating me. I guess I will just have to let it go since we can't seem to come to some sort of agreement. I guess I will just have to take it upon myself to volunteer him often for committees.

Thanks for the help mamas.

Celtain's Avatar Celtain 03:39 PM 09-18-2004
We have to pay $5 to join the PTA in our area. I have NEVER heard of such a thing. I mean what is up with that? you have to PAY to help out in your kid's school????
Kari_mom's Avatar Kari_mom 05:36 PM 09-18-2004
To respond to the op, my husband has been more involved in the PTA than I have in some respects. We have treated it as a partnership, we are both members, we both have been chairpersons, and he has attended many more board meetings than I. The meetings start at 6:45 and often do not end until 9:00pm, and that runs smack into bedtimes for us and I can handle breastfeeding children to sleep better than he can. He does like being involved and knowing what is up at school.

We are no longer on the board this year, as we are not pleased with the direction the current president is headed in and we have several other interests taking more of our time, but we do plan to reinvolve ourselves again. My hubby is one of three men who regularly works with the PTA. Most of the other guys are husbands who show up when their wives volunteer their services.

We have to pay $5 to join the PTA in our area. I have NEVER heard of such a thing. I mean what is up with that? you have to PAY to help out in your kid's school????
If your PTA is truly a member of the official PTA organization, then the organization is more than helping out at school. The PTA is the largest organization working for children's interests, and your dues are paid to the national and state organizations as well as to the local school group. If you want to be sure that you like what the PTA is doing with your money, then you should check out the website at At our school, $5 is the dues for each parent, and only $1 of that money goes to the school PTA as a source of income to fund student activities.

You should not have to pay dues to help out at your school, but if you are on the board you are required to pay dues and be a member. Some PTAs choose to pay dues for their board members. I was membership chairperson last year, in case you were wondering how I knew all this or why I would want to know this.
RBinTEX's Avatar RBinTEX 06:25 PM 09-18-2004
Our school is a PTO instead of a PTA, so we are independent and don't pay dues to a national organization. We do, however, have a membership drive, and ask for $5 a family. You do not have to pay $5 to volunteer. You do have to be a paid member to vote at meetings. The votes often are over how to spend our fundraising money. PTO pays for all of the "cultural arts" programs that come to our school, as well as library books, computers, field trips, teacher training, playground equipment, etc. With the budget crisis in my state, PTOs are being asked to purchase more and more of the things needed for our children. Some kids will never see a play, go to a museum, or have access to new library materials without PTO assisstance. Volunteering is half of PTO. Money is the other.
3boysmom's Avatar 3boysmom 06:39 PM 09-18-2004
I am the current president of my kids' elementary school PTA. Our membership dues are $22 per family ($15 for single membership). We have two men on our executive board this year, out of 10 executive positions. It is primarily moms that are active PTA members, but we do have plenty of dad-involvement too. I encourage you to get as involved as possible and volunteer your dh for those things that you think would interest him at least a little. In my experience, once a parent (mom or dad) gets involved and sees how much good is accomplished and how much fun is had, they get sucked in and get more and more involved on their own. It's a great way to show your kids that their educational experience is important to you, model responsible involvement, and make new friends while you're at it! It's also the best way I know to get to know the principal, teachers, and other staff...these are people that spend a lot of time with my child...I want to know them! Good luck and have fun!
Kirsten's Avatar Kirsten 06:05 AM 09-19-2004
In my dd1's elementary, there are mostly moms at the PTA meetings - though almost every dad belongs (has paid dues - all official PTAs that I have ever heard of pay dues). At the meetings, it is usually about 3/4 moms and 1/4 dads. We have some very involved dads and their kids (and all the other kids too) benefit from that.

My dh has gone to..... hmmm... I guess I can't remember him going to any PTA meetings. It is cheaper/easier for one of us to go and one stay home with the kids. Our meetings often go past the kids bedtime so even though there is sometimes childcare by donation, it isn't something we generally take advantage of.

To the poster who was offended by the $5 dues, you don't have to pay or belong to PTA to volunteer at school. You have to be a member to vote on how money is spent (as another poster said).

My dh, even though he doesn't go to the monthly meetings, is very involved. I volunteer him for many things. He enjoys doing more "manly" jobs where tools are involved. Fine with me and that is needed so why not? He also chaperones field trips, helps with field day, moves or builds stuff, etc. He doesn't have much experience with whether you'll make more profit selling wreaths or gift wrap; he doesn't know the specifics of her classroom and what they need in what order of importance. Maybe it would be nice if he did. That is more what I am "into". I think that is ok. He is very involved in the kids' education in the ways that work for him. If he wanted to go to the meetings and volunteer to read in the classroom, I'd be thrilled. But it doesn't bother me that the ways he likes to help are different from mine. He has been the only dad in a room full of moms (at birthday parties or such) and he doesn't love it (he is kind of a man's man) but he puts up with it when he needs to because he loves his girls and wants to be as involved as he can (within his limits...)

There are so many different things that need to be done in a PTA/school. There is room for both of you to be involved. I hope he comes around a bit - maybe if you go to the first PTA meeting and scout out the scene? If there are dads at the first meeting, maybe he agrees to go to the second with you? Or do you know other parents from your child's class? Call other moms and see if you can round up a few dads to go so your dh is more comfortable? You didn't say specifically why he didn't want to. But if he is willing to chaperone field trips and help clean up after the back to school bbq and put together the new cabinets, I would try to back off on the meeting attendance a bit. Maybe he will come around after he gets involved in the ways that are easier for him first.
hippiemom2's Avatar hippiemom2 03:33 PM 09-19-2004
I guess what I am really angry about is that it is just one more thing that I have give more time to. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed as is but now I have to find time for PTA as well. It isn't fair that I am so overloaded and he has nothing but a job and his household chores. It shouldn't be that one partner takes care of everything else while the other just does the bare minimum. But, it doesn't matter much since after much discussion he feels he "shouldn't have to volunteer for the school because isn't that what we pay taxes for?" Uggh!!!

Thanks for the info. At least I will know what I am getting myself into and HE WILL be doing lots of volunteering on the special projects. Since he refuses to go to the meetings, I can sign him up for whatever.

lauren's Avatar lauren 10:43 AM 09-20-2004
I just wanted to throw out that it is certainly possible to be a very involved parent at school, without being involved in the PTA. I have never been involved with it, because I don't like the projects they choose, but I am involved in a lot of other ways. I struggle too with balancing everyone's involvment with my dh. Sometimes I find that when I am getting resentful about one particular thing, there are broader issues between me and my dh that we need to resolve together.