The Katy ISD schools have not always had PTA's in almost every school.  When my sons were in Katy schools, (the last one graduated from Taylor in 1992), there were no parent organizations in secondary schools.  The superintendent, Gordon Brown, did not see any need for them.


As a parent at that time who had "grown up" belonging to parent organizations while a teacher, I couldn't understand his reluctance to have parent organizations in the schools.


Actually, Gordon Brown was smarter than I was on this subject!  He knew, I think, the dangers of letting such groups in the door! There was already a collection of parent organizations in the elementary schools.  Another parent and I had tried to turn the PTA at Nottingham Country Elementary into a PTO.  (There was already a PTO at Addicks (Wolfe) Elementary, and we saw how successful that group was without having to send half its dues to the state and national PTA organizations. As the legislative chairman in the PTA at NCE, I had gone to the state PTA meeting and listened to the propaganda and wanted no part of that--unfortunately most PTA moms don't get into the state and national politics of that organization and so have no clue what their funds enable.) When the meeting at NCE occurred to change from a PTA to a PTO (I'll include my list of reasons later), you would have thought I was trying to invoke World War III!  The head honcho from the county PTA showed up with lots of backup.  The principal and the PTA president cried.  (How do you fight tears?)  And I lost! (See below.)


But several of my friends and I got together and began the process of having parent organizations as I envisioned  in our schools at the secondary level.  There was no stopping us.  Ironically, former Addicks ISD superintendent and then subsequently principal at Addicks Elementary (now Wolfe Elementary), Maurice Wolfe, allowed us to convene in the cafeteria at Wolfe Elementary. (Mr. Wolfe believed in PTO's and Wolfe still has one--it's parents have never given in to the PTA idea. (https://www.facebook.com/WolfeElementaryPto ) We organized and the first parent organization in Katy ISD secondary schools began at Memorial Parkway Junior High.  I was the president of that organization.  Another group at Mayde Creek Junior High formed right after that. 


My attempt to circumvent the PTA at the secondary level was also in my plan!


Our group at MPJH was called PBE --Parents for a Better Education.  The name was rife with innuendo. It suggested, of course, that there was something wrong with the education that existed, and indeed there was--and it needed improving.  Although we didn't realize it at the time (1983), education "reform" was already well under way in our public schools.  Of course the principal's idea of a "better education" and mine weren't quite the same--or so I thought at the time.


Our group was heartily endorsed by the then principal, Dr. Roy Mendez, who gave us carte blanche to get started.  What we didn't realize then was that Dr. Mendez, an immigrant from Cuba, was smarter than the average principal, had recently completed his educational doctorate at the University of Houston, (receiving the outstanding doctoral candidate award), was very grounded in the principles of freedom, and was essentially trying to buck the system.  Dr. Mendez tried to re-establish all sorts of common sense practices, but he soon tired of the abuse he took for doing so, and left to run a car repair facility in the Dallas area! (I hope he is a rich man today!)


As the president of that group, I wrote the by-laws and tried to make everything fair.  I organized a committee for everything imaginable as the officers and I wanted to be inclusive of all the parents whose children fed into Memorial Parkway Junior High.  At the time in the Katy area, there was much discord between "old Katy" and the suburbs.  And even within the suburbs there was also discord. 


The sign at the entrance to Nottingham Country on Park Pine was always having to be "fixed" as someone would add an "S" to the front of the sign! And that sort of told the story.  It was a socioeconomic issue that now seems pretty trivial and inconsequential, but that is how things go.


So to counter that situation, I put two chairmen in place for every committee--one from Memorial Parkway and one from Nottingham Country.  That lasted one year until Brenda Tilley was elected president, and she put a stop to that!  She pretty much threw Memorial Parkway under the bus in my opinion, and we went back to being "Snottingham."


The PTA has come to be an organization in the Katy ISD schools that "supports" the school,  not the students or the parents who are its members. Whenever a new school comes on line, the KISD administration makes certain that it becomes a "PTA school."  So much for freedom of choice! I suppose that doesn't bother anyone besides me.


Taylor High School also started a parent group, copying my by laws at MPJH, and calling itself  "Taylor Parents in Action."  It was an attempt to use the PTA initials but "say" something else.  Here is what the TPA is now--very much the same as the first organization at MPJH:

I copied this off the THS web site http://www.katyisd.org/campus/THS/Pages/TPA.aspx :



The TPA is Taylor High School's "PTA". It stands for Taylor Parents in Action and is the parent booster club designed to enhance the educational process by assisting students and faculty. The TPA coordinates the volunteer program, fund raising for student and teacher scholarships, teacher appreciation treats and luncheons, Beautification Fund and the printing and distribution of the student directory.



These are activities that are not intrusive to the school, do not offer the opportunity for parents to have unnecessary access to administrators to the undue exclusion of other parents, and which HELP the school to be a better place for students and their teachers.  I hope the parents at Taylor continue to buck the system and to be what they were meant to be from the beginning.


Just an FYI, OUR PBE group was the first group to start the practice of providing smashing lunches for the teachers!  It was my idea, as I had done the same thing when I was a teacher at Waltrip High School in the early 1970's as the Student Council sponsor.  It was an easy transference to a parent group. (In my opinion, the practice has gotten out of hand, but that happens often with so many good ideas.)


The first luncheon was a huge success, and we ran out of food before the last lunch shift, and another PBE officer and I sped to Randall's to buy items from the salad bar that they used to have, so we wouldn't disappoint anyone! Those were the "good old days" of parent organizations in Katy ISD.


I do not mean to slight the help and co-ordination that existed from many other "moms."  But I doubt they would want their names included here. (If they do, I will be glad to mention them!)


We also were the first parent group to provide landscaping for the school.  And we started the idea of Eighth Grade "dances," but with OUR dance, we made sure every student came and was a part of the event--date, limousine, corsage or not! ---Borrow my CD of a REAL Eighth Grade Dance in the MPJH cafeteria if you want to see how great that place can look!


It wasn't long, however, before the administrators in KISD realized the potential of parent organizations to enhance their agenda.  Insiders knew the politics of the PTA and it's then co-hort, the NEA (National Education Association).  And so a PTA Council was established.


As the parent representative from Taylor High School on the first Superintendent's Round Table (or whatever they called it), I suggested that they start a parent organization council!  Of course what I intended wasn't exactly what they did. Ironically as a school board member ten years later, when it was my "turn," I served as the board's liaison to the PTA Council.  Nothing had changed and was, in my opinion, worse. Control, control, control.


And so, 25 years later, we have an organization ensconced in our midst that allows parents of a certain political bent to have total access to our schools' administrators.   None of the PTA members realize how they are used, but they certainly DO take advantage of the access.


The school district should never allow any group to have such access.  They should not be allowed to collect dues through the school. They should not be allowed access to teachers and their rooms at will.  They should not be allowed to force membership through contests or attendance at monthly meetings by hooking on to regular school functions and holidays. And no organization that collects money from parents through our public schools should be allowed to give half that money to state and national organizations whose activities are what they are or to the principal at the local school as a slush fund to do with as he/she pleases! The PTA officers should decide how to spend the money that they collect. In essence, right now, these PTA members are PAYING FOR ACCESS!


If the PTA is allowed such access to local schools and school administrators, then every other group that wishes to form should have the same access.


Of course, hardly anyone understands what the PTA is about these days.  Read the additional articles under the PTA heading, and the reader MAY begin to understand what's up!



Go to www.pta.org/ and read their policy statements and see if they are in agreement with your beliefs.