After a disastrous field trip, Edna and the teachers agree to a strike as they have had it with Skinner cutting the school's budget to the point that he's selling the kids' futures short (never mind that the kids don't grow up or age in any way on the show and the only kids with a chance to make something of themselves are Lisa Simpson and Martin Prince). While Bart revels in the strike by making mischief, Lisa is suffering from not being in a classroom setting, Milhouse gets tutored, and the PTA decides to hire neighborhood people as scab teachers.
This episode contains examples of:
- All Crimes Are Equal and Disproportionate Retribution: Doing anything and everything gets you paddled by Jasper.
- Blame Game
- Captain Obvious: The tour guide explains that cannon could go off if hit with the slightest touch. Considering that the cannon were pointing at a lookout tower, it wasn't loaded for safety reasons ("It's just common sense").
- Comically Missing the Point: Homer thinking Canada is a southern country after Marge tells the family that the kids had trouble finding Canada on the map.
- Driven to Madness: Lisa, from not being in school.
- Education Mama: Marge, when she realizes that Bart's and Lisa's personalities have been affected by the strike.
- To a lesser extent, Milhouse's mom, who hires a tutor for her son after hearing about the strike.
- Hair Trigger Explosive: Zigzagged, a tour guide in Fort Springfield is giving a lecture on a "fully restored and in ready to fire condition" Civil War cannon aimed directly at the base of a manned lookout tower. She mentions that these cannons are "very sensitive and that the "slightest jolt" can set them off as the Springfield Elementary bus starts swerving towards the cannon. The bus hits it and... one of the cannon's wheels falls off.
- Non-Indicative Name: The episode is called "The PTA Disbands," yet it focuses on a teacher's strike. Lampshaded when a person horrifyingly yells "The PTA has disbanded!", and jumps out the nearby window, before Flanders explains that the PTA has not disbanded, prompting that man to jump back through the window, dusting himself off.
- Sucky School: Springfield Elementary has gotten so bad that even the most disinterested teachers can't ignore it.
- Shout-Out: Jasper's "That's a paddlin'..." spiel spoofs the "Night in the box" monologue from Cool Hand Luke.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: This happens twice!
- When ‹ter is attacked, the bus just leaves him and he isnít talked about (which sets up several jokes in later episodes about how ‹ter is missing).
- What about Jasper after Abe was forced to abandon him?