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Issue # 15
    June 28, 2012

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

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PAA Action Alert


For our nation's birthday - let's give some thought to what it really means to be a great nation   


The Supreme Court has upheld the federal healthcare reform law. A wise friend said that by next year, people will simply be calling Obamacare "healthcare."  


Can we really turn the corner and become a nation that offers its people medical care regardless of status or situation? If we can do that, can we also turn off the message from the "reformers" that it's OK to offer children different educational opportunities based on their status and situation? 


The so-called education "debate" is really just a one-sided propaganda campaign waged by privatizers who see public education as an investment opportunity, not a service that a great nation provides to all its people. Our "side" of the debate has mainly consisted of exposing the lies behind the propaganda and reacting to its ham-fisted attempts to turn public opinion in favor of privatization and school closure.  


It's time to turn the discussion back to what we expect of ourselves as a great nation when it comes to educating our children. The discussion should start with the promise of equal opportunity and end with ways to assure that every child is prepared to live a rich, engaged civic life.        


What can you do? 


Send a birthday card like this (or a paper card!) to at least one of your elected officials. Start a new conversation about what we really want for our children, and the equal educational opportunity that a great nation must provide. 


PAA News


They know us in Malaysia!  


An article by Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, chairman of a parent group in Malaysia, Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia or PAGE, mentioned PAA in a discussion of school privatization:


There is also the other side of the coin. In 2010, Parents Across America (a group launched just weeks after PAGE was registered) was formed to raise the voices of public school parents to condemn increasing privatisation, high stakes testing and the closure of public schools in order for private schools to be opened in its place.

National Resolution Update

The big news this week is the endorsement of the National Resolution by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

The New York Daily News reports that the City Council will take up a resolution against high-stakes testing today, and that more than 1,100 college professors across New York State have signed a letter opposing the proliferation of the high-stakes tests.

FairTest, an author of the National Resolution, reported in a press release that there are now over 10,000 individual signers and that people are using the summer to take the campaign to the campaigns!
In St. Petersburg, Florida, for example, voters already convinced seven of eight contenders for the local school board to oppose high-stakes standardized exams. By "bird-dogging" candidate forums, asking pointing questions, publishing opinion columns in local media, and commenting on political blogs, advocates expect to deliver a clear message to those who ultimately make assessment policy: "Enough is enough!"

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

PAAers in the News

19th Ward Parents, Chicago

New Chicago Affiliate19th Ward Parents was one of the groups honored as Best Public School Parents of 2012 by the Chicago Reader. 

19th Ward Parents leader Becky Malone was quoted in a Progress Illinois news update about parents marching at Wednesday's Chicago school board meeting in support of teachers:

As parents we support our teachers, because as it's been said many times before but bears repeating, our teachers' working conditions are our children's learning conditions. If teachers are not supported by the school district, how can we expect them to provide high quality education our children need? This is why our teachers have spoken out with more than 90 percent of their membership voting to strike. They are looking out for the best interests of our children, and for that they deserve the support from us as parents and community members.


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

NYC's Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson writes to Mayor Bloomberg about his demand to publish teacher evaluations:

Bloomberg has no respect for parent rights. When we protest school co-locations or closings, he says we "don't understand the value of a good education."  When we  push for more schools to be built to alleviate overcrowding, he says we have
In February, I asked for the performance evaluations of the Chancellor's Leadership team, and I am still waiting. So today I thought I would email Bloomberg and Walcott. I have also put a clock on my website in order to mark the time I have waited for these performance evaluations, which by law, are the right of every citizen to obtain.

Read more here. 
PAA Blog Highlights

New post on the PAA blog this week:
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.