Dad to Take Helm at PTA for First Time

Filed under: Opinions

father and sonCharles J. Saylors will make history in June, when he takes over as president of the Parent-Teacher Association, a national organization of 5.5 million members most often associated with mothers.

Recent years have seen the rise of the stereotypical PTA mom -- the woman who left her high-powered career and instead channeled her not-inconsiderable organizational skills to bake sales and fund drives. However, Saylors' appointment is reflective of a growing number of dads who are getting more involved in their children's schooling.

According to The New York Times, men make up only 10 percent of the national PTA membership, and while the number may be small, it does reveal a steady increase. Male membership in the PTA has increased at a rate of 1 percent per year over the past five years.

The National Center of Fathering also shows that men are more involved with their kids' educations, engaging in activities like walking their children to school, going to class events, talking about education with other fathers, and helping with extracurricular events.

The national PTA recently made a concerted effort to get fathers more involved. A poll conducted by the organization two years ago revealed that dads were less involved than moms for two reasons: they didn't have enough time, and no one asked them to join.

That research led to "Three for me," which is a contractual agreement between the school and the parent for three years of volunteer time during each school year. That, says Saylors, shows men that the PTA doesn't have to take over your life.

My kids aren't school-age yet, but I know the temptation to get over-involved will grip me in just a few short years. My own husband certainly reflects the trend of involved dads -- if I know him, he'll be the first in line to bring a batch of cupcakes for the holiday celebration.

How about you? Are you a PTA mom or dad? Why or why not?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.