DECEMBER 2, 1958
NEW YORK—I don't know as yet how successful the National Parent-Teachers Association membership drive has been during the month set aside to increase its membership, but advance indications have been encouraging. This organization already had 11½ million members before the current drive, and I believe this is the largest membership of any group in the world.
Now, since only one-third of the members are men, and because fathers must have as much interest in their children's good bringing up as mothers, I would urge that more men become members. Chapters exist today outside of the United States proper—in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and now even Americans who find themselves in Europe have formed branches.
It is interesting to note what an organization of this kind can do and how quickly we can forget its accomplishments. It was the PTA that established and supported public kindergartens until they were taken over by public school systems. And long before the rest of us woke up to the need for hot school lunches the PTA was establishing and maintaining thousands of these hot school lunch programs, until finally everyone became aware of the value of this program.
Much of the legislation that has been passed which affects children and school conditions generally was initiated in fact by the PTA, and it is the organization's influence that has made many communities aware of the needs of our children and our young people.
But perhaps the most important result of this organization's work is the increase in contact between parents and teachers, and thereby the increase in understanding of each other's purposes and problems. In fact, if you have children in public schools it should be to your advantage to see that the PTA organizations of their schools get full support and are active working organizations. And I should like to urge again that fathers join and become active in the PTA, for they should be as concerned with the organization and their children's education [unclear term marked] as are the mothers.
Many people have seen Dore Schary's play, "Sunrise at Campobello," and they may be interested to know that on Sunday, November 9, a Hungarian-language adaptation of the play was broadcast by Radio Free Europe. Two of the Hungarian refugees in this country acted the parts taken by Ralph Bellamy and Mary Fickett, and this play inaugurated a whole series that is being given on the air to Hungary every Sunday.
Other plays chosen for translation are "Abe Lincoln in Illinois," "Murder in the Cathedral," "Joan of Lorraine," "I Remember Mama," "Carousel" and, of course, "My Fair Lady."
The Communist regime, naturally, has attacked these programs, because they do show that there is culture in the world that is not Communist culture. I think these broadcasts are a very good way to keep alive throughout the Communist countries some of what is going on in the free world.
I should like to draw to the attention of all good Democrats the new "Distaff Democrats Cookbook." This booklet was prepared by the Women's Division of the New York State Democratic Committee, and costs one dollar. You will be attracted by the donkey on the cover and you will find all the illustrations an added joy as you follow the recipes. It would make a very acceptable Christmas greeting to young and old alike.