“No true-hearted man will shirk his duty in this crusade for the children, a warfare as glorious, I think, as men ever waged on a field of battle.”
—Alice McLellan Birney, cofounder and first president of PTA, at PTA’s third annual convention, February 1899
PTA knows the value of fathers’ involvement in the education of our children—and has from its earliest days. Likening the home-school partnership to a three-legged stool of mothers, fathers, and teachers, the organization formally strove to engage fathers more fully in their children’s development even while still called the National Congress of Mothers.
And just as early, men responded to the call, working to further the PTA Mission in big and small ways. Later leaders continued to be inspired by the notion of the sturdy three-legged stool, and male involvement and leadership in the organization increased. As one 1970 article in the PTA national magazine explained, “Through the PTA a good deal more of that essential element, father, has been put to work to produce improvements in homes, schools, and neighborhoods and in community, state, and national services for children and youth.”
Today, there is documented evidence of what our founders knew instinctively: Children benefit from their fathers’ involvement in their schools. Research by the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that this is true even when a child’s mother is already involved in the school. A father’s involvement “exerts a distinct and independent influence” on a child’s success in school.
What, then, are the benefits of father involvement? When fathers are involved in school, their children:
- Learn more
- Perform better in school
- Exhibit healthier behavior
- Have fewer discipline problems
- Are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities
- Enjoy school more*
How can you become more involved? There are many ways to become more engaged in your child's education:
- Join PTA- it supports your school, your teachers, and your kids!
- Surprise your child with a special lunch or classroom visit
- Come and play with your child during recess
- Do homework with your child
- Get to know your child's teacher
- Read together
- Attend school events as a family
- For more ideas, check out our Father Involvement How-To Guide
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools, NCES 98-091. By Christine Winquist Nord, DeeAnn Brimhall, and Jerry West. Washington DC: 1997. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs98/fathers/
U.S. Department of Education. A Call to Commitment: Fathers’ Involvement in Children’s Learning. Prepared by the National Center for Fathering. Washington DC: 2000. http://www.ed.gov/pubs/parents/calltocommit/