Charles J. Saylors, the first male President of the National Parent Teacher Association, faces a slew of challenges over his two-year term: Across the country, teachers are being laid off, programs are being cut, and many facilities are sub-par. But Saylors, a father of four and grandfather, is ready for his new role, beginning with a commitment to get more dads involved.
Mom Congress: So, how are you going to get those dads?
Saylors: I'm hoping leading by example. I want them to give me three hours over the entire school year. I work for a living. I have a child in middle school and in elementary school. Yet I can do this. If I can do it, you can do it.
Mom Congress: How did you get involved with the PTA, nearly 20 years ago?
Saylors: I started my PTA career serving hot dogs. My wife and I went to my first grader's school open house, and I helped out. The next year, I was PTA president.
Mom Congress: Was there a pay-off for your kids?
Saylors: It gave me some valuable learning experiences, like what questions to ask during parent-teacher conferences and how to help my child succeed with their homework. My involvement has made me a better parent.
Mom Congress: What do you think of President Obama's actions on education so far?
Saylors: They're moving in the right direction. One hundred percent of our future is 25 percent of our population. We need to make sure children have every possible advantage. That requires money. That's not necessarily the message everyone wants to hear, but it does. Stimulus money is a good start, but not the total answer.
Mom Congress: What else can the government do?
Saylors: When I was PTA president at an elementary school, we had a local company that would allow their employees to come and volunteer four hours during the school year, on the clock. There's got to be some kind of tax credit that can be developed to help business owners let employees perform such acts. It's a win-win.