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Issue # 14
    June 21, 2012

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

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PAA Action Alert


Call/write/e-mail your mayors about their "parent trigger" vote!   


This week, the US Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution to support "parent trigger" laws. Specifically, according to this article in Stateline News, "the mayors unanimously called for legislation that would allow 'parents to choose from one of at least four intervention options to improve their child's school: turnaround, restart, school closure, or transformation.'"


The article quotes PAA's Leonie Haimson: "The mayor's proposal, she says, is a "stealth move" to benefit charter school operators. "If the mayors of this nation really wanted to listen to the priorities of parents," says Haimson, who co-founded Parents Across America, which opposes parent-trigger laws, "they would strengthen neighborhood public schools by reducing class size, by providing a well-rounded education and de-emphasizing standard testing."    


Most PAAers' experience of our mayors is that they want to control the schools and not listen to parents. Approving this resolution, sponsored by Michelle Rhee's husband, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, and two other corporate reform-minded mayors, Cory Booker of Newark and Antonio Villaraigoso of Los Angeles, simply makes it clear that our mayors are more interested in serving the interests of privatizers and union busters than the people who live in their cities.         


What can you do? 


If your mayor was one of the 2000 or so at the conference, he/she probably voted for this resolution. Send him/her a message that you disagree with the resolution, and attach PAA's position paper on the Parent Trigger. 


Also, if you haven't already done so, please share PAA's "thumbs down" review of the trailer for the upcoming parent trigger movie, "Won't Back Down," with your local movie critic and read the point-by-point breakdown by PAA's

Caroline Grannan of what the trailer shows and what really happened when charter promoters tried to "parent trigger" a school in Compton CA.


PAA News


Movie review update


Our "Won't Back Down" movie review was  mentioned in the Stateline News article about the mayors' resolution on the "parent trigger" (see story above). The Catalyst Notebook blog also linked to our review. drops Students First and Stand for Children petitions 

We were happy to hear that the petition site,, finally listened to all the complaints about the way they redirect signers from progressive causes to petitions from reactionary, union-busting groups, which harvest the signers and call them "members."

PAA exposed this problem more than a year ago after many complaints from members and friends about being sent to a Michelle Rhee petition after signing one of ours.

The post "Regrets and clarification... after signing  one of Michelle Rhee's petitions," was written by PAA member Michael Paul Goldenberg in April, 2011, and this one, detailing Michael's correspondence with the "help desk," helped generate many more complaints to the site host.

The straw that apparently broke's back was a complaint letter posted on another site by Chicago teacher Jennifer Johnson which quickly gathered 4000 signers.

National Resolution Update

The Florida Association of School Boards and the Florida State PTA have endorsed resolutions against high-stakes testing.   

Florida PAA founding member Rita Solnet published a  great Huffington Post article, "Let's be real clear," about
the Florida state school board decision.

Please continue to reach out to your school board, parent council or other education group, urging them to endorse the resolution.

More PAAers in the News

Andrea Merida on Gates money

Listen in on this great Education Radio interview, "Strings Attached, the Gates Foundation and the Buying and Selling of Public Education," featuring PAA Denver founding member Andrea Merida, who takes on BIll Gates and the corporate reforms he's been pushing on our schools.

Karran Harper Royal at NABJ

This week PAA's New Orleans founding member Karran Harper Royal represented us on a panel for the National Association of Black Journalists conference.

She reports that there was not enough time to get into all the issues adequately but that the audience was favorable. "All in all tonight was a great opportunity to tell more of the truth in a community forum about the reforms in New Orleans. People want more of these opportunities."


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

Austin TX affiliate

CoalitionSAUS (Strengthen Austin Urban Schools) ended the school year feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  So the group decided to organize a joint meeting of all the groups working to stop corporate education reforms over the past year.  The joint meeting brought forth valuable insights, shared agendas, pooled knowledge and welcomed. Bottom line:  We grew the people pool of each of our organizations, increased our outreach, amplified our voices, maximized our message, minimized duplication of effort, subsidized our resources and strengthen the spirit and resolve of all of our organizations...and we did it all without raising or spending any additional funding. 

Read their story here.
Chicago: 19th Ward Parents fight for democracy

Our new Chicago affiliate, the 19th Ward Parents, has joined with other local groups to begin a petition drive for a referendum to establish an elected school board in Chicago.

Chicago has had mayoral control of the schools since 1995, but has never had a directly elected school board. Parents feel that the current board, which is mostly made up of businesspeople whose children attend private school, is too out of touch with the concerns and issues of Chicago's families to make the best decisions.

Read their story here.

Sumter SC affiliate and the Broadies

Sumter, South Carolina, schools are being subjected to Broad-style corporate reform. Read this post on our blog  by Parrish Rabon, founder of our affiliate, Sumter Education Task Force (SETF).

Class Size Matters' Skinny Awards: photo op

PAa co-founder Leonie Haimson hosted her organization's "Skinny Awards" fundraiser last week with guest speaker Diane Ravitch. Leonie is on the right. Diane is second from the left. Also shown are two New York State Regents. 

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.