Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reasons I Haven't Join the PTA

Three of my four kids are in school at Northern Lights Elementary
and when Grace was in kindergarten I went in for my first, official, Parent-Teacher Association meeting but I've learned since then and have boycotted PTA ever since. Why?

13. I'm in what is clinically known as "Mini-van Denial" wherein the victim refuses to admit that she is yes, a full-fledged Mom with four kids, a van and a card in her pocket that says, "Proud member of PTA."

12. No time. I think you caught the four kids part and obviously I'm spending way too much time blogging or I wouldn't be typing such a mundane list.

11. I'm leaving it to the big girls. Because Northern Lights is popular and you have to sign your kids up for a lottery to get in (and the waiting list is as big as the school population) there are more than your average number of involved parents. Not enough work to go around anyway, they're always looking for things to do so I'm not exactly missed.

10. My kids don't want me there at school looking over their shoulders. They like a bit of autonomy and are okay with me letting them have the school to themselves.

9. Keeping a low profile ensures I won't be hit up to serve on the PTA board. I'm not a public figure, no thanks, no way. I'd rather spend my time publishing my deepest thoughts for the entire blogosphere to see (do you think the entire blogosphere is listening?)

8. I get to avoid dumb important meetings to vote on gripping issues like whether there should be a rolling-dot matrix sign at the entrance to the parking lot to inform parents of current events (because you want people lingering to read signs while they're picking up/dropping off their kids in an already brutally crowded parking lot).

7. I get to come an hour later to Back to School night by simply eliminating the PTA meeting at the beginning.

6. Shock value. It's really kind of fun to hear another mother's reaction to the fact that I don't belong to the PTA. I couldn't get that kind of a gasp if I said I belonged to Al-Quaida.

5. I'm a bit of a rebel when it comes to conventional-wisdom and "everyone else is doing it" and since I don't really have the guts to sport a mohawk and a tattoo saying, "Berkeley or Bust" I'll just stick with my tiny little protest against The Man--or maybe The Woman--somehow I feel PTA is distinctly female.

4. I'd rather keep my $5 membership fee. I think it may be up to $10 by now, but $5 is $5 and I'd rather do cheese bread at Moose's Tooth than enroll in PTA.

3. I don't have any more. I can only come up with ten reasons (isn't that enough??) I told you I was a bit of a rebel.

2.

1.

But having said all this, after my post last week about showing television in school, I'm wondering if maybe I should be a bit more involved . . . maybe it's time to change my policies.

More about the Thursday Thirteen meme

36 comments:

Tracie said...

Funny, I have always thought of the PTA as being distinctly female too. My daughter is only 3, so I have a little while to go before the PTA tries to get me! :)

My TT is up!

Chelle Y. said...

My reason would be that I am too lazy! Haha!

Great list.

Haley-O said...

You are such a REBEL! A good reason not to join the PTA. I can't imagine I ever will. I'm just not the type....

Sally said...

You're my kind of mom! BTW, I love the vocab on the fridge idea! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Now if you only had a shirt that said "I Hate the PTA." Then you'd be my hero.

FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

Very amusing. I think your list would suffice. You're excuse.
Thanks for passing by.

Addie said...

Its my sons first year at school ... that is a good enough reason for me not be a partof the PTA - good list!!!

Come on over and read about the 13 reasons why we should embrace life.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Whe I was a teacher!!!!I hated the PTA. They were so bossy and cliquey...

Their kids were always so bratty because "My mom is the president of the PTA, I can do what I want"...ugh.

I hate it. I am dreading that day...But I think I may join and be one of those bitchy moms who gets their way becasue they are on teh PTA...It's my turn now sucka!!!!

Julie said...

I belong to the W.T.A. (Whine Terribly about all the things that are going wrong at the school but don't have time to get involved myself Association.) It has very few meetings, no dues, and only one member. :)

Anonymous said...

I am not part of the PTA either, I don't have the time or the patience for it....I leave it to those who like it LOL

Kat said...

Michelle,
I think you should just get a nose ring AND join the PTA. Just plant your rebellion right in the middle of it.

My daughter is only in preschool. It's a private school but they have a PTA-like organization.

It's called FOF. I only have on excuse for not joining.

I'm morally opposed to being a part of anything called FOF. What kind of name is that?

Anyway, great blog again.

By the way, I'd love to take you up on your offer of sharing your blogging wisdom. You can send me an email at theKatJacobsATgmail.com.

Thanks Michelle!

girlymama said...

When I worked at a private school, I had to RUN the PTA.

gag gag whine whine bitch.

ugh. Good call, Michelle!

colleen said...

I went to a PTA meeting once when my sons were school age and it was either so boring that I wanted to be knocked out or it was over my head!

Mine are in the fast lane.

Darla said...

LOL! Yeah, our kids' last school was like that--so many parents participating that there were waiting lists for volunteer opportunities. I did volunteer in the school library--apparently that was considered too boring to have a waiting list.

Brian (PTAless) said...

We're lucky to get 50% of parents to join at our daughters school.

Although, we just give our money and don't bother with the meeting, carnival set up, etc. Leave it to the moms (and dads) with a little more free time on their hands.

Domestic Goddess said...

I always thought of the PTA as a big school run fundraising organization. I don't join either.

J said...

At our school, the PTA is called the PTLG, and you don't have to pay dues. The dues (seriously) have something to do with the legality of calling it a PTA. Whatever. Anyway, I don't belong to the PTA, but I was on the school board for 3 years, and I was the head of the (gag) fundraising committee, and I am still mighty involved in the school. Maya goes to a charter school, and we are required to volunteer 40 hours for one child, 20 additional hours for each child after that, per school year. I make my hours EASILY. And I don't try to pull any annoying crap about "I'm on the board, so give my child special treatment" or anything like that.

Having said all of that, it's great that your school has such a high rate of involvement. Our school is also on a lottery system, but still it's so often the same 15 families that put in the majority of the hours, and the rest just take advantage. This is my daughter's last year there, and I kinda have 'senioritis'. I want some of the slackers to step up.

Knitting Maniac said...

10 reasons is MORE than enough!!!!

The Wooden Porch said...

LOL! This is funny! :-)

Good for you. I tend to always take on more than I should. I'm working on it...

Tug said...

#10? The only reason you need...

Thanks for visiting!!

Loralee Choate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Loralee Choate said...

Three-year Founder and President of my kids Parent Organization. (Not affliated with the PTA)

The job was thrown at me.

I accepted because I knew that this was my one opportunity to do something like that. I am NOT "Typical" PO President Material.

This was a new school and it was beyond overwhelming, so the probelm of "Not having anything to do" didn't exisist. I was often at the school until 2 am. When the ball dropped (It did a lot) I was the last line of defense. I did it or it didn't get done.

I worked my ass off.

I would have loved to have more of you 'Reble PTA Haters' to hang out with instead of some of the plastics. I often think that people who dislike the PTA so much are the very ones that should muscle their way in and work to change things instead of sitting there complaining about how horrible it is.

I DO realize in some schools this is impossible due to hierarchy and wenchy people not wanting to give up their power and control.

I never treated myself, my kids, the teachers, or anyone else with cliquishness, brattiness or the like. Again, though...I am not someone you look at and go PTA President. Things worked well for me because I truseted everyone to make wise decisions, I didn't micromanage and there was plenty of respect, responsibilities and praise going on.

Many negative things said about these organizations are dead on. However, without them the kids and the school would be screwed, so try to give them a bit of a break. It is hella hard work.

Loralee Choate said...

P.S.
J- Sounds like our schools (Charters) and opinions are pretty much identical. 20% of the parents do 80% of the work.

Sad.

ali said...

no PTA for me...i have WAY too many other things to do!

...my 2 cents said...

A great list! I wouldn't join the PTA either! I'm a bit of a rebel myself, if everyone else is doing something, I usually want to run the other way.

Cagey said...

Awesome! I have no plans on getting into the PTA stuff. I might get roped into it, but will do my best to resist the Mighty Pull.

Currently, I am also swearing to never bake and instead, plan to proudly saunter through the door bearing store-bought goods.

You're an inspiration for Lazy Mamas everywhere. I totally heart you.

you da mom said...

my list would have been one reason and one reason only:

i hate everyone.

also in denial about the minivan thing, even though mine is so great. screw it.

Just Expressing Myself said...

Ya gotta love a rebel!
I so understand how you feel.
Thanks for sharing,
Frances

Anonymous said...

My number one reason would be other moms!!! Enough said.

Anonymous said...

A great list--it takes me back to when my kids were in school. Omigosh, I don't miss the PTO (that's what we called it). However, it is important to have a voice when you need one, as in the TV thing.

kailani said...

I don't think it should be madatory for moms to join the PTA. You do what works for you! Happy TT!

Anjali said...

Excellent reasons, and I plan to plagerize them all next year, when my oldest starts K, and I don't join the PTA.

Anonymous said...

Here is a bit of irony. I went to an educational lecture this evening as a PTA representative. The talk was given by a guy named Will Richardson, his subject was using blogs, wickis, podcasts etc... in the classroom. The fact that educators and parents need to help kids use the tools and information, not bar them from it. So I came home and checked out his website found a search place for blogs, and found this one! I've been in PTA, the real affiliated one, for about fourteen years. I have stayed with it because at its heart it is a child advocacy organization and encourages parent involvement in education, its hard to argue with that. I don't think of myself as the average "PTA Mom" either. I drive a Prius and live on a farm. I understand the negative outlook, not every PTA functions in the way the state and national organizations encourage them to function. Getting Dads involved is a major initiative of PTAs across the country. You are right it is mostly female, but it doesn't have to be.
One of my ideas is for PTAs to have "single parent nights" who knows maybe PTA meetings can become a good way to find a date, and become involed in your kid's school at the same time. You may not think of yourself as PTA material, but there is a good chance that the people who are active in PTA at your school do some good stuff that may even benefit your child. Buying a five dollar membership is probably a pretty painless way to support the programs that the PTA sponsors. Check out the national PTA website www.pta.org. You might be surprised!

Anonymous said...

My schools PTA is made up of a bunch of women who must have missed the popularity bus in high school so they are having a powertrip good ole time now! I am one of those parents who pays my dues so i can have my say when i want with these baffoons. I also dont need my name on things that I want to volunteer for , I dont need anyone to know it was me who did it, Im not in it for the pat on the back .like the PTA usually are. These women dont care about our kids , just thiers. So wtg you rebel!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you missed the bus. How can anyone argue against one being an advocate for children.

scribbit said...

I guess I've always felt that being a mother was being the biggest advocate for children and I don't feel that I need the PTA to help me accomplish that.

Having said that, it isn't really clear from my list how different the PTA at my kids' school is from the PTA in other schools. Frankly, this school is the plum of the city and it's so uber-fancy that the PTA has nothing better than to raise money for a marquee sign in the parking lot. They're all about fluff and not necessarily about real learning--which I AM a big advocate for when it comes to my kids. I just don't need the PTA to do my job teaching and I don't need to get involved with their job raising money for silly projects.

Maybe this explains my position better, but probably doesn't change your opinion :)