PTACommentary by Pete du Pont
December 24, 1996
Host intro: Among his many ventures, Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis edits an on-line policy digest. It published an article recently that issued a stirring call to arms to a group you might not have thought was even in the fight.
Marching orders for the PTA ? Isn't that like an attack plan for the Wednesday sewing circle? Not according to Charlene Hauer of the Education Policy Institute.
The Parent Teachers Association needs to change: it's become a tool of the teacher unions at the national level; locally it's degenerated into a fund-raising auxiliary for school districts and a child advocacy group for social, non-educational issues. PTA officials stifle open discussion of controversial issues and keep members in the dark about policies advocated in their name.
Hauer believes the PTA should abandon its efforts to become yet another lobbying group for more government money; support original education research; encourage rather than eliminate parental debate; become an unbiased, rather than a union-dominated resource center; and curtail the fundraising efforts which divert members from more serious pursuits. In other words, members should tell national leaders they're back in the ball game.
Parents should also take a more active role at home. That means monitoring what children read and how they study; communicating positive values and character traits; and encouraging high achievement.
Once they take action in public and at home, the "parent" will be back in the PTA.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: Tomorrow, Pete du Pont reports on the search for a Republican chump.