Phi Delta Kappa International
Phi Delta Kappa International is a not-for-profit professional association of women and men in education. The purpose of the organization is to promote quality education–with particular emphasis on publicly supported and universally available education–as essential to the development and maintenance of a democratic way of life. This purpose is achieved through the genuine acceptance, continuing interpretation, and appropriate implementation of the ideals of leadership, service, and research.
Phi Delta Kappa was established in 1910 by representatives of three educational fraternities: Pi Kappa Mu at Indiana University (1906), Phi Delta Kappa of Columbia University (1908), and Nu Rho Beta at the University of Missouri (1909). Chapters were categorized as either campus chapters or field chapters, a practice that was abolished in 1973. The racial barrier for membership was stricken from the constitution of Phi Delta Kappa in 1938, but it was not until 1974 that the gender barrier was eliminated. The first international chapter was approved in 1955 at the University of Toronto, and in 1999 the constitution of Phi Delta Kappa was changed by chapter referendum to eliminate the use of the term fraternity and replace it with association.
Membership is open to professionals at all levels of education and to individuals in educationally related fields who have a baccalaureate degree and have academic standing sufficient for admission to graduate school. Student teachers are also eligible for membership. Membership is by election through the chapter structure; candidates for membership may be nominated by current members or through self-nomination. Membership is also available without affiliation with a Phi Delta Kappa chapter. Additionally, Phi Delta Kappa provides undergraduate student membership at half the amount of regular dues. Life, senior, and emeritus membership categories are also available.
Phi Delta Kappa International offers a variety of programs focused on members, local chapters of the association, the broader education profession, and local communities. Professional development activities are emphasized by the Center for Professional Development and Services (CPD&S), which offers seminars to school districts. CPD&S also houses the International Curriculum Management Audit Center. The Center for Evaluation, Development, and Research (CEDR) disseminates research information through publications and supports research activities through programs and services. The Phi Delta Kappan, the association's journal, is published ten times each year and confronts the most current issues facing K–12 schools and institutions of higher education.
Phi Delta Kappa International underwrites a number of scholarship programs for pre-service and in-service educators, as well as offering support to the Future Educators of America, which promotes teaching as a viable career option for young people. Through the International Travel Scholarship Program, Phi Delta Kappa also makes annual awards to members who wish to participate in educational travel tours sponsored by the association.
The association contributes to the national dialogue in the United States between the education community and U.S. citizens through its sponsorship of the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The results of the poll are reported each September in the Phi Delta Kappan.
Organization and Governance
As of 2001, there were more than 600 Phi Delta Kappa chapters located in North America and approximately twenty others outside the United States and Canada. Chapters are grouped into areas, each under the direct administration of an elected area coordinator. Coordinators visit chapters, provide leadership training, and disseminate information about the international association. Areas are grouped into nine districts, each under the administration of an elected district representative who also serves on the international board of directors. The legislative council, meeting in odd-numbered years, sets association policy, elects international officers, and adopts the biennial budget. The international board of directors serves as the policymaking agent between meetings of the legislative council and employs the executive director who oversees a staff of approximately sixty persons. Financial support is derived through dues, the sale of publications, services, and grants.
PHI DELTA KAPPA. 2002. <www.pdkintl.org>.
GEORGE KERSEY JR.
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