How to Make a Study

A study is in order whenever the association (membership) is concerned about a subject or an issue. A study committee must gather facts, investigate carefully and prepare a final report. The possible reasons for making a study are many.

Purposes of a Study

The purposes of a study are to:

Acquire knowledge about a subject;

Respond to a concern of the membership in a particular area (e.g., education, health, safety, community problems, state or local legislation);

Respond to a need or problem;

Gather all available facts and information before acting on an issue that concerns the membership;

Develop information on a subject or issue that the association believes should be presented to the California State PTA Board of Managers, government agencies (e.g., school board, city council, board of supervisors), other groups or the public; or

Develop a resolution for the California State PTA Convention.

Initiate a Study

Initiate a study with a:

Motion from the association membership;

Request from an individual member;

Recommendation from the executive board;

Recommendation from a committee of the association; or

Request from an allied agency, organization or group.

Study Committee

The president appoints the chairman and members of the committee subject to ratification by the executive board. The number and composition may be specified in the motion creating the committee. (If this is done, the phrase “and others as appointed by the president” must always be included as protection against oversight.)

The committee should be composed of at least five but not more than nine people. Members may include:

  • PTA members, officers and chairmen whose duties fall within the subject matter of the study.
  • Administrators, teachers, students (if appropriate), consultants, and/or community members.
  • People with differing points of view on the subject.
  • The association president as an ex officio member.
  • The committee secretary may be appointed by the president or the committee chairman or elected by the committee at its first meeting.

Committee expenses are legitimate PTA expenses.

Study Committee Procedures

Keep minutes to avoid repetition in subsequent meetings, to ensure that all items in the plan of work are covered, to avoid omissions in the final report, and as a record of the committee’s work.

Identify the subject(s) and/or issue(s) to be included in the study.

Set goals. Will the committee gather information, or will it try to develop recommendations for action? If “information only,” how will the information be used? How much time will be needed?

Decide the scope of the study. How much information will be needed to reach the goals? What areas of the subject/issue will the committee try to cover?

Use resources such as films, newspapers, publications, appropriate agencies, and experts in the field of study. All sources should be verified to ensure the accuracy of the information.

Assign responsibilities for research. Each member of the committee should have a specific assignment. Subcommittees may be helpful in completing the research. All research should be available to all members of the committee.

Ensure that all areas of interest on the subject or issue (within the defined scope) are covered. Personal views must not be allowed to intrude.

Conclusions

All possible solutions, conclusions, etc., should be listed with an evaluation of how they will affect the subject or issue.

Recommended Solutions Should be Tested

Are they in accordance with the Purposes and basic policies of the PTA?

Is there a strong possibility they will accomplish the desired results?

Are they practical? Are the necessary resources (whatever they may be) available?

Will the proposed solution create other problems that need to be resolved before implementation?

Are the recommended solutions in the best interest of children and youth?

Do the solutions completely address the subject or issue as defined in the scope, or is more research needed?

The Study Report

The study report should:

Be written by the chairman (the secretary may assist) and approved by the committee;

Be submitted first to the PTA executive board and then to the association;

Include an appendix listing all reference materials used and any other resources;

Include any recommendations for further study, implementation or action; and

Include the time requirements involved in implementing recommendations.

When a Study Is Completed

The association or executive board may refer a study report to another group, although that group had no part in initiating the original study.

Studies forwarded to the California State PTA should be sent through channels—unit to council (if in council) to district PTA.

When appropriate, all studies should be submitted to the council (if in council) and to the district PTA, so the information will be available to other units.

All studies referred to another group or submitted through channels should be accompanied by a study letter.

Following the final report, the study committee ceases to function unless given further responsibilities by the executive board or association.

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