Award-winning activist - PAA's Rita Solnet!
Rita Solnet was named Best Political Activist 2012
by Broward-Palm Beach New Times:
Rita Solnet is the rare activist with powerful allies inside and outside government. Her diligently researched arguments prompt policy changes with far-reaching implications throughout the state. The Boca Raton mom helped found the national, nonpartisan group Parents Across America, which rails against privatization and high-stakes testing in schools. This year, she helped prevent a for-profit company with a dismal track record, Mavericks in Education, from opening three new charter schools in Palm Beach County. Then she took the fight to Tallahassee, successfully protesting a "parent empowerment" bill that would have allowed public schools to be converted to charters.
Congratulations, Rita! A well-deserved honor!
National Resolution Update
Rita was delighted to share the news that two more Florida school boards, in Pinellas and Okaloosa Counties, have passed a resolution against high-stakes testing.She reports that several other school boards will be voting on the resolution in the coming days.
Another big win - the Tulsa Oklahoma school board.
Karran Harper Royal at Netroots Nation
PAA's New Orleans founding member Karran Harper Royal was a panelist at the Netroots Nation annual conference in Providence RI last week speaking on Education as a Right-Wing Wedge Issue-and How to Stop It.
More PAA(ers) in the news
PAA's Philadelphia founding member Helen Gym
in the Associated Press:
"For 10 years we've lived with promises that privatization and choice options would be the magic bullet to a lot of the problems," said parent Helen Gym. "What we found is chasing after these silver bullets has really drained schools of resources and starved them to the point of dysfunction."
The passion in the room left Gym, perhaps the district's most outspoken activist, at an uncharacteristic loss for words as she stood to address the commissioners. Her voice faltered briefly before launching into the eloquent and hard-charging criticism for which she is known.
Afterward, Gym said she was overcome by the emotion overflowing from the broad coalition of students, parents, teachers, district staff, clergy, union leaders and residents.
"It's a real last stand around public education," Gym said. "And to have all these people come out ... was, I thought, just incredibly powerful."
PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson from NYC in Reuters story "Parents Protest Surge in Standardized Testing":
"I see frustration and bitterness among parents growing by leaps and bounds," said Leonie Haimson, a mother who runs Class Size Matters, an advocacy group in New York City that pushes for reduced testing and smaller class sizes. "What parents are saying is, 'Enough is enough.'"