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Monday, July 8, 2013 - 10:30am

Bryan County Man Leads National PTA

Updated: 1 year ago.
Otha Thornton was installed as the national PTA's first African-American male president last month. (photo Lifetouch Photos / National Parent Teacher Association)

The new national president of the PTA says his organization isn't political enough.

Reports the Bryan County man recently elected to the education group's top post says he'd like membership drives to include voter registration forms.

Some PTA critics say the organization has strayed from its mission by embracing stands on issues such as gun control and the federal budget.

Its membership has fallen from six million to five million members in the past decade.

But Richmond Hill aviation operations analyst Otha Thornton says parents should be heard in the halls of Congress.

"Whenever you speak up for people who might not have a voice, people will say you're political," Thornton says. "But our mission and goal in speaking up for kids over the last 117 years has been to make things better."

Thornton says one of his priorities will be getting parents involved in their children's education.

"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu," Thornton says. "So, when you have elected officials and school officials making decisions about your child, people will make decisions about your children because you're not there."

PTA critics say parents don't need the national group to make a difference in their local schools.

Thornton addresses some of that criticism and other challenges facing the organization in the interview attached to this article.

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