Connecticut PTA History
Frances Sheldon Bolton founded the Connecticut Congress of Mothers in 1900, three years after
the National Congress was organized Washington, D.C. in 1897. Utilizing the same Goals and
Objects of the National Congress, Connecticut's mothers directed their efforts toward bringing
the system of education closer to excellence and making the home environment a positive and healthy experience for the children and youth.
CT PTA's record of accomplishments for the well being of all children and youth is impressive. It has helped the secure child labor and school attendance laws; juvenile courts; maternal and child health services; public school kindergartens; school lunches; funds for enrichment education programs, libraries, and vocational education; juvenile delinquency research and control; and other legislation that benefits children and school. Our members continue to identify the to the interests of children and to take action to achieve the PTA's legislative objectives.
Since its founding, three crucial areas have formed the framework of the PTA and have given direction to all its efforts for children: advocacy, service and parent education. As children's need have changed, the CT PTA's specific objectives have been redefined, but these three traits have remained constant.
Children need the PTA as much today as they did in 1900, and their needs will be as great in five, ten, twenty years. To achieve the goals of our founder and our present leaders, our organization is continuing work on projects begun and is reaching out into new areas of concern. Problems of children and families in the urban setting; standardized testing and minimal competency standards; teacher preparation and in service training; school finance; special need of single-parent families and teenage parents; the energy crisis and the schools; hazardous materials in the environment; and utilizing technology in today's schools for tomorrow's workplace have been concerns throughout the years and continue to be concerns.
CT PTA is proud of its past and traditions it has established. It is dealing with conditions of the present with courage and vigor; and it looks to the future with a strong commitment, knowing that children will always need friends and advocates who will speak out and take action on their behalf.
As early as the fall of 1897, Alice McLellan Birney suggested international connections for the National Congress of Mothers. She was corresponding with women in many foreign countries about their ways of reaching and teaching mothers.
Requests for information about the growing Congress had already been received from England, China, Japan and the Netherlands. Belgium invited the Americans to take apart in an international meeting on home education in 1905. With the cooperation of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was chairman of the Congress' Advisory Council, the national convention body voted in 1905 to hold the First International Congress on the Welfare of the Child in 1908 in Washington, DC. A letter was sent to 48 countries accompanied by a letter from the U.S. State Department. Twelve countries from four continents were represented, as were 32 U.S. states.
A second International Congress was held three years later in conjunction with the Congress of Mothers' 150, annual convention. A third and final International Congress met in April 1914 at the Congress' 18th annual convention, including representatives from Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Bulgaria and Germany.
The Congress' influence continued to spread around the world, where child welfare and mothers' organizations were organized under various names. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Mothers' Club expanded its activities for under privileged children; India and Japan promoted mother's study groups; and Canada organized the Canadian Federation of Home and School. In 1927, the International Federation of Home and School was founded in Canada on the University of Toronto campus with the National PTA president serving as the international group's president as well.
At the end of World War II, General MacArthur invited the PTA to help establish a Japanese PTA as a means of democratizing that country.
The National Congress of Parents and Teachers organized the European Congress of Parents, Teachers and Students in 1958 to serve parents of children in Department of Defense schools. A number of units were active in Hong Kong during the early 1980s but later disbanded. Then in 1991, the Pacific Congress of American Parents, Teachers and Students was granted a charter, making it the 53rd congress and in 1998 the 54th congress, the U.S. Virgin Islands, was chartered.
The Connecticut PTA is proud of its past and the traditions it has established; it is dealing with conditions of the present with courage, and vigor; and it looks to the future with a strong commitment, knowing that children will always need friends and advocates who will speak out and take action on their behalf.