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PTO Headlines of the Future

The influence of parent groups on every part of life and culture has never been clearer than in these predictions.

by Sharron Kahn Luttrell


With the New Year come and gone, let's cast a glance forward and see what 2006 might hold.

"Musicians Urge Nations To Unite on Behalf of Cafetorium Stage Curtain." Rock legends from both sides of the Atlantic banded together to support an elementary school in need of a new cafetorium stage curtain. Sir Bob Geldof, the force behind such multistar charity events as Band Aid and Live Aid, spearheaded the benefit after learning about the tattered curtain.

Performing artists Bono, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow, and 60 others squeezed into a studio to record Geldof's original, "Do They Know Our Curtain's Badly Frayed?" PTO members raffled off a Mary Kay skincare basket to the rock stars, raising $120 toward the curtain replacement. Sales of the Cafetorium Curtain Aid CD, DVD, and related merchandise are expected to bring in an additional $50 million.

"Origin of the PTO." Scientists studying apes in the wild observed behavior that one researcher described as being uncannily like my local parent-teacher group. The mature baboons solicited donations of twigs from their colony mates while their offspring learned ant-harvesting techniques from unrelated adult baboons. The young primates lacked the proper tools and were frustrated in their attempts to collect the ants using only their hands and tongues. When the parent baboons collected enough twigs, they distributed them to their offspring, allowing the teachers to incorporate more sophisticated insect-gathering methods into their lessons. The study offers clues to the instinct among humans to enrich their children's educational experiences.

The difference between the baboons and my PTO was that the apes grimaced at one another and flattened their ears to resolve disputes, the researcher said. Humans aren't capable of flattening their ears.

"Dual Degree Program Offered." With more parents jumping off the career path, then channeling their education and work skills into volunteering, top business schools announced a new joint MBA/MPTO degree program. The Master of Business Administration and Master of Parent-Teacher Organization degrees will prepare young men and women to do business in a global economy while simultaneously grooming them for effective PTO leadership. MPTO courses will cover family fun night analytical skills; principles of bulletin board management; applied theories of teacher appreciation; and marketing to grandparents—the ones with the money.

"Supreme Court Pick Brings Experience That Matters." The Senate unanimously confirmed Pinecone Street Elementary School PTO President Lenore Smith as the 110th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. President George W. Bush nominated Smith to the bench, citing her three years at the helm of her parent teacher group and, specifically, her work on her PTO's bylaws revision. "Lenore's grasp of the laws governing her PTO make her a natural for the Court," Bush said. "Plus, anyone who can uphold the one-project-per-child rule at the craft fair Make-It-Take-It table, even when her own child burst into tears and loudly accused her of being the meanest mom in the world, is truly someone who embodies the qualities I look for in a justice."

Ready or not, 2006, here we come!

Sharon Kahn Luttrell volunteers for parent groups at two schools in Mendon, Mass.

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