Like so many other organizations, the National PTA has taken a left turn in recent years, but most parents don't realize how far left the PTA has gone.
So they pay membership dues to the local PTA without giving a second thought as to how their donation will actually be used. Many parents assume their dues money goes straight into the local PTA to help children in their own district. But the National PTA collects dues from its members—the local PTAs—so that means a portion of local PTA membership dues funds the National PTA.
All that money adds up, too.
For the 2020 fiscal year (ending June 30, 2021), the National PTA took in $4,070,241 in membership dues, according to its Form 990 filing.
But do you know what issues the National PTA believes and advocates for?
Here are ten to consider:
1. Systemic and Institutional Racism.
The National PTA believes a "culture of oppression permeates" the U.S., so it advocates for correcting all systemic inequities and injustices embedded within society by disrupting the systems that allegedly propagate this institutional racism.
2. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
The National PTA is all-in on the equity agenda, and encourages local PTA leaders to incorporate DEI principles into their work from this handy resource guide. DEI is even part of the mission. The organization also put together an objection-handling primer to help PTAs respond to growing pushback against DEI.
3. Critical Race Theory and Book Bans.
The National PTA does not have a position on CRT as a methodology, though it believes in teaching "an honest and fair understanding of how our nation’s history has unfolded" and therefore recommends educating about systemic racism, white privilege and so forth. Interestingly, the organization calls for banning "outdated" books that might have "disparaging representations" (think Dr. Seuss) and replacing them with contemporary diverse books that allow everyone to be "seen" (e.g,. gender identity books, books about transgenderism).
4. Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
The National PTA supports the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the organization that created the transformative CASEL wheel which emphasizes using "an equity lens" (e.g., skin color) in all decision-making.
5. Sexual Orientation, Identity Change and Title IX.
Members are encouraged to advocate for and support legislation and policies that prevent talk therapy (a.k.a. "conversion therapy") for students experiencing gender dysphoria, and instead prefer that new gender identities are affirmed without question (so that means boys in girls' sports and bathrooms). The position statement scares families by suggesting if they don't affirm a new gender identity, then it will open a child up to suicide (8x higher risk), depression (5x higher risk), and illegal drug use (3x higher risk). The National PTA also recommends using radical organizations, like GLSEN and Gender Spectrum, as resources for LGBTQ+ inclusion materials.
6. Affirmative Action.
The National PTA issued a statement expressing disappointment with the Supreme Court decision to end the racist practice of affirmative action, alleging the U.S. continues to suffer from a legacy of racial division, institutional and systemic racism, and that it has failed to "remedy past sins".
7. Restorative Justice.
The National PTA blames structural inequity, including systemic racism and ableism, for contributing to the "school-to-prison" pipeline. It wants to prohibit law enforcement from becoming involved in school discipline situations that it feels should be the responsibility of school administrators. It also calls for adopting restorative justice practices instead of detention, exclusion or incarceration of youth.
8. Rights and Services for Undocumented Children.
The National PTA thinks it's in the national interest to ensure that children here illegally have access to a free public education. It also believes that schools should be defined as “sensitive locations” and that Immigration and ICE officers and agents should refrain from enforcement actions against any students in any school, college, university, or any other institution of learning.
9. Renaming Schools, Symbols and Mascots.
The National PTA calls for renaming educational facilities, buildings, team names, symbols and/or mascots which are deemed to be culturally insensitive (e.g., being named after Confederate soldiers, racially derogatory or culturally insensitive names).
10. Environmental Health, Remediation, Sustainability and Climate Change.
The National PTA believes in climate change and global warming even though it is unproven science.