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Issue # 4
April 12, 2012

Information and action for parents coming together to strengthen our public schools. Comments? Suggestions? Stories?  

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PAA Action Alert


Help fight ALEC!  

You may have been reading about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) lately because this group wrote the controversial Florida "Stand Your Ground" law involved in the Trayvon Martin case. They were also behind the union-busting and voter ID laws in Wisconsin.


ALEC is a secretive business-backed group that writes conservative legislation and then spreads it rapidly across the nation with the help of wealthy individual and corporate sponsors.

PAA warned parents a year ago about ALEC's education initiatives, which include promoting the "parent trigger," vouchers, and virtual learning.

Now ALEC is being exposed nationwide and many of its sponsors are fleeing the wreckage. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Kraft have already jumped ship. McDonald's pulled out yesterday as a result of organized pressure. Bill Gates has said he will not renew his current support for ALEC's online education and teacher merit pay initiatives.

Help turn up the heat on other ALEC funders and put an end to their ramrodding bad laws through states before the people even know what's happening. Sign this petition asking AT&T, State Farm, and Johnson & Johnson to stop funding ALEC. Thanks!

PAA News


PAA mugBuy a PAA mug - send a PAA member to DC!


Several PAA members have been invited to Washington D.C. for an April 20th parent forum hosted by the US Department of Education. We want to make our voices (and yours!) heard by people who rarely give us the opportunity. Since PAA's budget is minuscule, we could use your help to support travel expenses for some participants. We need to raise about $3,000, fast!


Why not purchase some cool PAA merchandise at our store? Or, use our Donate button here - please indicate that this is a donation for PAA. Thank you!!!


Welcome new members in Waco, TX! Contact Brandon Moore,   


PAA'ers in the media


A letter to the editor from Julie Woestehoff (Chicago) about student test score-based teacher evaluation was published in the Chicago Tribune. They even added an original graphic!                                                         >>>


Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson (NYC) was quoted in  a Chicago Talks article about an Illinois lawmaker's proposal to cap class size in Chicago schools.        


Join Us!


Parents Across America invites existing local or statewide groups who share our overall goals of progressive, positive education reform and more parent input in education policymaking to affiliate with us. The more of us there are, the stronger our voice will be at every level. We are also looking for parents who are interested in forming new chapters of PAA in their states and/or local communities. Check out what we believe, and if you agree, join with us! Read more here.

PAA Chapter/Affiliate News

PAA affiliate PURE, in coalition with other parent and community groups, successfully won a concession from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to trim his Longer School Day plan from 7.5 to 7 hours. Chicago Parents for Quality Education is concerned that there are no additional resources being directed to the plan, and a likelihood that the extra time will simply mean more teaching to the test.

Media reports included a quote from PURE executive director and PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff about how the issue has brought together a diverse set of parents who are angry about the school board and mayor making major decisions about the schools without real parent input.

The coalition prepared a position paper refuting the Mayor's claims about the relative length of school days across the US, and the effectiveness of an extended day. They included a strong statement about what our schools and students really need, including lower class size, a rich, well-rounded curriculum, and time for physical activity. The group intends to keep fighting for that better, not necessarily longer school day.

PAA-Seattle and North Carolina affiliate Mecklenburg-ACTS
Seattle's Sue Peters and NC's Pamela Grundy have been sharing ideas for questions to ask potential school superintendents, since both are members of local selection panels. An example: "Given research proving that their use is limited, what role do you see standardized tests playing in our school improvement efforts?"

PAA Blog Highlights
Parents Across America (PAA) is a non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that connects parents and activists
from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together  
on improving our nation's public schools.    

PAA is committed to bringing the voice of public school par­ents - and common sense - to local, state, and national education debates.