Engaging & Empowering Communities
The Wisconsin PTA was founded June 7, 1910 by Agnes Betts of the Milwaukee/Waukesha area. Our first president was Mrs. R. J. Sullivan of Milwaukee. Some of the early issues Wisconsin PTA was successful of influencing in Wisconsin are:
- Required Kindergarten
- Required Teacher Certification
- Better movies for children/movie going habits of children
- We are still going strong today! Using our voice of almost
25,000 members in 250 Local Units and Councils all over
the state, we participate in and represent parents on
advisory/educational councils & panels all over the state
along with advocating the PTA objects and mission.
Early History of Wisconsin PTA
By Judy Cardin, Wisconsin PTA President, 1987-89
One of the many things I wanted to do a President of the Wisconsin PTA was to organize the multitude of minutes we found stored in many different boxes. I not only wanted to organize them, but I also wanted to save then on computer disk to allow for more storage space in our already overcrowded state office. As past president, I am able to accomplish this task.
Many of the early minutes were donated to the Wisconsin State Historical Society of Madison in 1954. The Historical Society was very kind to allow us to borrow these minutes back so that we might have a complete history of the Wisconsin PTA.
There were so many items I found important and interesting in our past PTA history. I thought you too, may want to share in some of the workings of our “forefathers.”
Interest in the parent-teacher work in Wisconsin began through the use of the Child Welfare Magazine [now known as PTA Today (later changed to Our Children- pll)]., which in 1908 came to Mrs. Agnes Betts of Milwaukee from the National Congress of Mothers. Mrs. Betts, being very interested in the welfare of our children, sought to explore this “National Congress of Mothers.” Being very much impressed with their movement, Mrs. Betts called for a meeting of many various clubs (i.e. Women’s Clubs, Jewish Council of Women, Boys Busy Life Clubs) on May 27, 1910. A motion was made and carried at this meeting to form a state organization. And so they did on June 7, 1910, an organization meeting was held. Many speakers were present and spoke of the necessity of the “need of good house training for children.” Another speaker “gave credit to mother for most of the good in men.” Mrs. Schoof, Philadelphia, President of the National Congress, was the main speaker. She explained the purpose of the organization and spoke of the vast amount of good accomplished by the Philadelphia Congress. On June 27, 1910, Mrs. J. R. Sullivan was elected State President and our constitution and bylaws were adopted.
Much time in the early years was spent speaking to other groups who were interested in this movement for children. Dues varied for $2.00 to $5.00 depending on the size of the group and the kind of group (affiliated or unaffiliated) and/or whether they were individuals who just wanted to belong.
Read the entire history here
National PTA History
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the integration of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, which make up today’s National PTA.
In 1897, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst founded the National Congress of Parents and Teachers with a mission to better the lives of children in education, health and safety. In 1926, Selena Sloan Butler formed the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers to advocate for children, especially African American children in segregated communities.
As the United States progressed through the Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights Movement and the eventual desegregation of schools and communities, the two associations fought side by side for every child. Following the Supreme Court decision that ended segregation, the associations held their conventions in conjunction with one another and worked toward merging in all 50 states. On June 22, 1970, the two congresses signed a Declaration of Unification and officially became one association.
The unification of the two congresses is an important part of National PTA’s history and the association’s continued efforts to serve and make a difference for every child.
Read the full history from the National PTA website here.
What Drives Us
The PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.
As the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) reminds our country of its obligations to children and provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child while providing the best tools for parents to help their children be successful students. National PTA and all of the branches under them are a not-for-profit organization of parents, educators, students, and other citizens who are active in their schools and communities. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who is concerned with the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
Bylaws, Standing Rules & Resolutions
Policy Guide, Governance & Where We Stand
Our Sponsors, Affiliates & Partners
Current Focus Areas
After School Programs
Health & Wellness
We advocate for health insurance for all children and have partnered with Badger Care to help spread awareness.
Our annual Walk for Healthy Kids provides mini grants for health and wellness programs. Substance abuse prevention, particularly awareness of inhalant abuse.
Wisconsin PTA Team
Board of Directors
Who is Wisconsin PTA?
Districts, Councils, Local Units
Districts & Councils
Wisconsin At-Large Unit (WALU)
Request a Visit or Meeting
Why Your School Needs PTA