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A Portal into US Corporate Culture via Middle-Class PTAs

I like this article about corporate trained parents getting involved in US PTAs, not because I know anything about kids and public education, but because it provides a novel view into US corporate culture:

  • Hierarchy as a means to delegation for getting shit done, no more hippie love-ins:

    With many members who stepped out of high-profile careers to become stay-at-home parents, traditional parent-teacher associations (and the similar parent-teacher organizations, or PTOs) have evolved into sophisticated multitiered organizations bearing little resemblance to the mom-and-pop groups that ran bake sales a generation ago.

  • The fine are of saying “this sucks and I hate that they’re trying to change things” without saying “this sucks and I hate that they’re trying to change things”:

    “It can be a fine line between parental involvement and overinvolvement,’ said Joel R. Reidenberg, a school board member in Millburn, N.J., who called the new breed of parent groups both a “great asset” and a “tough challenge” for a school system. “Right now in the suburban schools, our society is grappling with the right balance,” he said.

  • Don’t waste your time with powerless and dispassionate middle-management, go to the top:

    While few school officials were willing to speak publicly about their specific conflicts with parent groups for fear of antagonizing them, many said parents routinely go over their heads to the superintendent or school board as matter-of-factly as if they were complaining to a restaurant manager about bad service.

  • Get shit done or get out of my way:

    “It was like a fashion show when my mother went to PTO meetings in the ’80s,” said Gina Convery, a mother of three in Wyckoff, N.J., who has been required to attend PTO meetings herself since she became a class mother last year. “It’s totally different now. These parents really have a goal in mind.”

  • The devil cuts fat paychecks, so you dance with him:

    “Many principals may view it as a mixed blessing,” she said. “But the reality is they are willing to assume the added pressure because the PTA provides a wonderful forum for parent-principal partnerships to flourish — and that partnership brings tremendous resources to support the goals of the school community.”

…and it goes on for a page and half more. Like I said, I don’t know anything about the core subject at hand, but the article is good for getting a read on what US corporate culture is like. It’s always easier to spot culture when it’s put in a different, conflicting context.

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Categories: Marketing, The Analyst Life.