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Issue # 5
    April 19, 2012

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

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PAA Action Alert


Learn about and share a real model for parent empowerment   

Parents and community residents all across Chicago are voting Wednesday and Thursday this week for 6 parents and 2 community members to represent them on the local school council at each school. Teachers and non-teaching staff vote for 3 of their peers and high school students cast votes for a student member.

The LSC has the power to hire the principal and vote on school budgets and programs. It is the strongest form of site-based management in the nation, and LSCs comprise the largest body of African-American and Latino elected officials in the US.

LSCs are also a proven school reform strategy. A recent study found that LSC-driven reform outperformed Chicago's turnaround model, even without the extra resources given to turnarounds.

Corporate reformers are trying to push their privatization  models (charters, vouchers) by claiming that they empower parents and offer choice. But we know that it's really the charter or the private voucher schools that have the choice - to accept or keep your child. Parents of charter or voucher students have little voice, unlike parents in LSC-run Chicago schools, who can turn to their LSC when problems arise, and whose LSC leaders regularly speak out for the parents, the students, and the school.

Read and share PAA's position paper, "The Empowerment Parents Want: the LSC Model for School Reform."      

PAA News


Edge City © 2011 Terry and Pat Laban. King Features Syndicate

DC Bound!

Six PAA members are off to Washington D. C. for the US Department of Education's Parent Leaders meeting Friday 4/20. Our goal is to make sure that our voices are heard and that this meeting is not just a "check it off the list" exercise for USDE. Too often parent meetings are used as cover for bad decisions that have already been made. We'll let you know how it turns out! (If you have trouble reading the comic strip, try this link.)

PAA co-sponsors April 17 forum in NYC

Teacher Evaluation Nightmare! PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson of our NYC affiliate, Class Size Matters, appeared on a panel at this forum on high-stakes testing and the new teacher evaluation system linked to standardized test scores. Read more here and here.

Welcome new PAA affiliates!

Dawn Collins:
Parents Across America - Baton  Rouge


Nikkisha Napoleon (new contact)
Parents Across America NOLA


PAA(ers) in the media


Marion Brady mentioned PAA among groups fighting high-stakes testing in this great article posted on the Washington Post Answer Sheet blog this week.


Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson (NYC) was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about StudentsFirstNY, another Michelle Rhee effort which seeks to carry on Mayor Bloomberg's corporate school reform "legacy" when he leaves office. 

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


Dora Taylor envisions a completely redesigned US Department of Education on her blog this week. What do you think?

New York City

PAA's Leonie Haimson is helping a new group get off the ground, called Change the Stakes, which includes several  NYC parents who have decided to opt their children out of the New York State high-stakes tests this week. For more on this, see With Test Week Here, Parents Consider the Option of Opting Out - SchoolBook, and Parents keeping kids out of state reading exams - NY Daily News.

Austin, TX

On April 4, CoalitionSAUS (Strengthen Austin Urban Schools) passed a "Resolution on High-Stakes Testing" and forwarded to Austin ISD School Board urging them to introduce and approve similar a resolution.  CoalitionSAUS also forwarded its high stakes testing resolution to our state legislators (House and Senate members of Education Committees) and federal congress people, urging them to reconsider the priority status, funding drain and curricular use of high stakes testing in our educational system.     
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.