PTA History: 1990-1999

In This Section

Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Join PTA For Your Child

In spite of our accomplishments, there was still more work to be done. In many ways, our challenges resembled those confronting the first National Congress of Mothers. Our population was growing and becoming increasingly diverse. Opportunity abounded for those with the education and training to take advantage of it, but for those with few skills the gap grew greater than ever. Education reform was the debate of the day, and the halls of the United States Congress echoed with conflicting solutions to fix what ails the system. National PTA was there to guarantee that the parent's voice didn't get lost in the clamor.

Our triumph in 1994 was the enactment of the Goals 2000: Educate America legislation that, among many reforms, called for local school districts to make parents equal partners on issues affecting their children's education. In support of the National Education Goals, National PTA released its National Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs in 1997. By 1999, National PTA launched a major training program to educate members and the public about the benefits of parent involvement, the components of effective programs, and how to implement the standards.


  • Launches the Common Sense drug prevention program
  • National PTA president is named to President Bush's Education Policy Advisory Council
  • Provided leadership in writing the resolution and coordinating activities for National Children's Day with Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II and Senator Mark Hatfield


  • Pat Henry elected president
  • First PTA Week is enacted by Congress
  • National PTA and GTE Foundation launches comprehensive program to help parents prevent the use of alcohol and other drugs by their children
  • National PTA sponsors Earth Week
  • In cooperation with JCPenney, 750,000 copies of the Busy Parent's Guide to Involvement in Education are distributed
  • Long-range plan adopted
  • First PTA/Newsweek survey published
  • Membership exceeds 7 million; Pacific Congress of American Parents, Teachers, and Students joins as 53rd congress


  • Convenes national parent involvement summit; 28 education or child-centered organizations develop a consensus mission statement on child involvement
  • PTA and the American Academy of Pediatrics hold the Children First Conference for Media to discuss children's health issues
  • Helps draft the National Education Goal for Parent Participation Act
  • PTA releases In Someone Else's Shoes
  • A Guide to Inclusiveness video and leader's guide and Opening Doors to Communicating with Your Teenager video and leader's guide
  • Second PTA/Newsweek survey published
  • With PTA support, Family and Medical Leave Act becomes law


  • Kathryn Whitfill elected president
  • PTA sponsors first Leadership/Legislative Advocacy Program to help members become effective child advocates on legislative issues
  • Leadership Skills Manual produced to be used in PTA's Train the Trainer workshops
  • Third PTA/Newsweek survey published
  • PTA and Good Housekeeping magazine agree to develop joint projects
  • National headquarters moves to new Chicago location
  • Issues more than a dozen Leadership Development Grants to fund state PTA parent involvement programs


  • Taking Charge of Your TV critical viewing workshops for parents are launched nationwide
  • Safeguarding Your Children violence prevention program is initiated
  • Be Cool. Follow the Rules. school bus safety program wins national award for excellence
  • Resource guide for developing early childhood PTAs is released
  • Receives American School Health Association (ASHA) Grant to continue National PTA’s efforts in HIV/AIDS education and leadership training


  • Joan Dykstra elected president
  • Reflections Arts in Education Program celebrates 25th anniversary; more than 10 million students have participated in the program since its inception
  • Safeguarding Your Children violence-prevention project is launched
  • Partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) established to promote training educators in parent involvement
  • Continuity for Success project with the National Head Start Association launched through three pilot sites to encourage continued parent involvement as children make the transition from preschool into public elementary schools
  • Receives Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to establish environmental education program
  • Revised Parent Plus, a comprehensive program for parent involvement education, as well as leader's and teacher's guides to parent and family involvement
  • Launches Children First online forum on the Microsoft Network


  • National PTA returns to its birthplace in Washington DC to celebrate its 100th Annual Convention and a century of commitment to children
  • Launches an award-winning site on the World Wide Web ( and links the national headquarters and state offices
  • Releases El Nido de la Familia (The Family Nest), a Spanish-language video program about parent involvement
  • Releases Ebony/National PTA Guide to Student Excellence video program and guidebook designed for African-American parents to help their children to develop greater academic readiness, self-esteem, and ethnic pride
  • Conducted a survey on "what do parents want in a TV Ratings System?"
  • Rallies on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, calling on legislators to put their words into action and support those measures that protect our children and promote their welfare


  • National PTA celebrates 100th anniversary with Washington D.C. gala
  • National Standards for Developing and Evaluating Effective Parent Involvement Programs are published and released by National PTA
  • Tipper Gore is a keynote speaker at National PTA’s Legislative Conference
  • National PTA succeeds in getting content information included in TV ratings system
  • Lois Jean White is inaugurated as the first African-American president of National PTA
  • Lois Jean White embarks on national media tour and receives significant national press coverage


  • Lois Jean White continues media tour appearing on several national television talk shows
  • Lois Jean White is guest speaker at Council of Great City Schools annual conference
  • PTA urban initiative program launched in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia
  • Partnership to develop a "Examing Education Today" tele-conference series launched
  • President Bill Clinton appoints Lois Jean White to Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Broadcasters
  • Vice President Al Gore is keynote speaker at National PTA's Legislative Conference
  • Lois Jean White featured in the book Women of Courage ll
  • National PTA produces violence prevention handbook
  • U.S. Virgin Islands become 54th PTA congress
  • Launch "Common Sense" drug prevention project website


  • National PTA and the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education develop and distribute a national Teacher Preparation Kit to support family involvement in education
  • National PTA awarded $20,000 grant to create online photo archive and searchable database
  • Parent Involvement checklist translated into Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean, Chinese, and Spanish and posted on National PTA website
  • Interactive Earth Week web page offered by National PTA
  • National PTA debuts "Violence, Kids, Crisis: What You Can Do" on website and in Our Children magazine
  • Bill Cosby keynote National PTA convention speaker
  • National PTA hosts "town hall" meeting on school violence at convention and surveys members on prevention measures
  • Ginny Markell inaugurated as National PTA president
  • Ginny Markell testifies at Senate hearing on effective public schools and education readiness for 21st century
  • Ginny Markell testifies before House panel on school vouchers
  • Ginny Markell attends National Education Summit
  • National PTA launches Building Successful Partnerships, a program for developing strong school-community ties, and works on writing a book