Jackie at A Patchwork Life responds to the PTA debate, as a mom volunteering in a lower income school. I think that the parents who responded to Elizabeth's post that I linked to yesterday tend to be in higher income school districts, where the tax base is such that they probably could fully fund the school if there were the political will to do so, and so there's a frustration with the PTA fund raising efforts because they seem unnecessary or are creating further inequities between school districts.
The comments on Jackie's post provide a completely different perspective on PTA efforts and should be a reminder that there are huge differences across school districts.
I have had experience at both ends of the school spectrum. I attended a school as a child where something like 85% of the students received free or reduced lunch. I'm sure they had to scrape for basic resources and that fund raising was an important part of that. At the other end, the first elementary school we were in here in PA was the richest in the area and the district actively competed with area private schools and was very up front about that competition. I went to PTA meetings there and volunteered in the classroom. Worst. Experience. Ever. I realize that that experience is not typical but it kind of scarred me. I mean the women who volunteered dressed for it, wearing pearls and diamonds and their best label outfits. I had on a t-shirt and jeans. One woman spent the entire time talking about famous graduates of her exclusive all-women's high school. Ugh.