The CLEVELAND COUNCIL OF PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS (PTAs) was organized in Apr. 1902 at FIRST PRESBYTERIAN OLD STONE CHURCH as the Cleveland Congress of Mothers. The local organization was affiliated with the Ohio Congress of Mothers, formed in 1901 at the convention of the National Congress of Mothers in Columbus. Louisa (Mrs. Martin) Striebinger, a charter member of the Ohio congress and its first recording secretary, was instrumental in forming the Cleveland congress and was elected its first president (1902-04). The congress was a federation of the mothers' clubs associated with area kindergartens and schools. The local group grew quickly, from 95 individual members in 1905 to 3,000 in 53 affiliated clubs in 1923. The congress promoted cooperation between parents and teachers in children's education, trained parenthood, and laws protective of children. It attacked juvenile delinquency and promoted teachers' pensions and education for the deaf and mute. Other projects included financial assistance to SAINT LUKE'S HOSPITAL's maternity dispensary (1911-12) and a successful campaign against dangerously long hat pins.

By 1927, when the Cleveland Congress of Mothers became the Cleveland Council of Parent-Teacher Assn's, it had 101 affiliates and about 10,000 members. It grew to 124 units and 28,000 members in 1946 and to 167 units in 1977. During the 1970s, however, PTA membership declined by 37% nationwide and by 56% in Ohio; by 1980 membership in Cleveland Council affiliates was 6,000. The decline (felt most acutely in cities) was blamed on the increased number of working mothers and, locally, on the need to travel crosstown for meetings as a result of busing. Despite local apathy, at the state level the PTA continued to take stands and lobby on issues such as "latchkey" children, child sexual abuse, standards for teachers, academic standards for athletes, and asbestos in schools.

National Congress of Parents & Teachers, Ohio Branch. 50 Years: Ohio Golden Jubilee Year, 1901-1951 (1951).


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