A history of the Texas Congress of Mothers-Parent Teacher Association and school reform, 1909-1930




Hatmaker, Amy A.


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The role of the Texas Congress of Mothers – Parent Teacher Association in school reform has long been overlooked by historians. This study is meant to examine the efforts of the organization in school reform from its inception in 1909 to the 1930s as well as the response of educators toward the organization following the creating of the professional school system. Chapter One examines the poor state of the public schools in the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. Using reports of educational surveyors, the Superintendents of Public Instruction and historians, it shows how Texas, like most of the South, lagged behind the rest of the nation in literacy, educational standards, and school funding. It includes a discussion of the early reform efforts and the emergence of the Texas Congress of Mothers – Parent Teacher Association. Chapter Two uses organizational records and state reports to show the work of the organization. The priorities of each administration are examined with particular attention given to the work that helped create the professional teacher as well as efforts that led to developing a modern system of education. The final chapter uses publications of contemporary educators and parents as well as institutional records to discuss the reaction of the school establishment to the reforms advocated by the Texas Congress of Mothers – Parent Teacher Association. It demonstrates that once education became a recognized profession, educators began to question the need to cooperate with the organization, sparking a redefinition of organizational priorities. The Texas Congress of Mothers – Parent Teacher Association was a major factor in changing the state’s educational system. Yet, the very system they helped create would later limit the organization’s future impact. A better understanding of the contribution of the organization as well as the dynamics between it and educators should be a part of the historical record. Further, an understanding of the history of cooperation and advancement made when both sets of stakeholders worked together could prove useful as a model for future reform efforts.


A thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS in HISTORY from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.


Education reform, Progress Era, Texas, Women's Organizations



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