PTAs falling by the wayside in the age of the busy family

Photo: Madeleine Wright / WPRI 12

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – In the age of bustling families and busy schedules, parent-teacher organizations are struggling.

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Today more and more parents are saying they are just too busy to get involved and volunteer in their child’s school.

Mary-Ann McCurry, head of the Harold F. Scott School PTA, says her greatest challenge is trying to get enough parents to participate.

“This [problem] is not specific to Warwick and it is not specific to Rhode Island,” McCurry said. “These are challenges that PTAs are facing across the country. Fewer and fewer people are involved.”

In a recent survey conducted by the Rhode Island Department of Education, 46 percent of parents said they “almost never” helped out at their child’s school within the past year.

This, McCurry says, needs to improve. By getting involved, parents demonstrate to their child the importance of school.

“There are so many benefits from parents being involved in schools,” McCurry said.

National PTA research shows a strong connection between family involvement and student success in schools.

When asked in the Department of Education’s survey what prevented them from becoming more involved, most parents said they are simply too busy to volunteer.

In response, PTA parents like McCurry are working to make volunteering easier for busy parents by decreasing the level of commitment required.

“People need to understand this is so important,” McCurry said. “You’re not signing a contract, you don’t have to come to every meeting.”

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