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Issue # 19
     August 9, 2012

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

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PAA Action Alert


Oppose parent trigger propaganda:
Maroon 5's Adam Levine to sing in promo concert for parent trigger movie

Tweet, Facebook, e-mail, call, write celebs, media, friends, family to protest phony "Teachers Rock" show and "Won't Back Down" movie

The propaganda campaign for the parent trigger law created by charter school operators and promoted by ALEC is in full swing.

The big kick-off event is a concert called "Teachers Rock." Like the "parent tricker" itself, this concert pretends to honor teachers while promoting a movie, "Won't Back Down," that is designed to get a lot of them fired and replaced by Teach for America newbies.

The concert will take place this Tuesday, Aug, 14th, at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. CBS will air a one-hour special using footage from the concert and the WBD movie, tributes to teachers from stars, etc. on Friday, Aug. 17th, at 8 pm EDT.

We know that most of the performers, like the actors in the movie, don't have a clue how they are being used to promote school privatization in the guise of parent empowerment, but this concert and WBD movie are going to put the issue front and center and we need to make sure that our voices are heard.

Here's what you can do:

We've written about the Won't Back Down movie in our newsletters before, but if you don't remember details, take a few moments to read PAA's review of the WBD movie trailer (which is all we have been able to see so far - we are requesting a screening) and fact sheet on the WBD movie. 

Then reach out to everyone you can about this movie and concert. This movie is designed to be even more powerful than Waiting for Superman, and we need to counter it with every thing we have. How do you fight Hollywood? Make the movie controversial, not feel-good. Take it to the stars who mean well but need to open their eyes to what they are doing. Everyone needs to write to CBS, too.

Everyone wants to write to a star, right? A list of contact info for a few of those involved in the Teachers Rock concert follows (gleaned from posters on Diane Ravitch's blog here). The easiest thing to do is to facebook and tweet them, keeping on mind that they are not the enemy.  Post your thoughts on their facebook pages, twitter feeds, use their e-mails, write to their publicist! This is the big one and we need all hands on board!

Here are a few message points:

The Won't Back Down movie and the 8/17 Teacher Rocks concert are propaganda for the parent trigger law created by charter school operators and promoted by ALEC.

Won''t Back Down  is a "feel-bad" movie for parents and t
teachers who support public education.

The controversial WBD movie promotes charter takeovers of schools, yet charter schools are no better than our regular schools.

No real teacher was  depicted in the filming of the WBD movie.

Parents won't be fooled by the "Parent Tricker" or the Won't Back Down movie.

Teachers Rock performers:

1. Dave Grohl: Manager-Gabby at 323-856-8222
2. Adam Levine: Receptionist will take message at 310-776-7640
3. Jack Black: email to
4. Meryl Streep: publicist's voice mail at 212-277-7555
5. Viola Davis: email to
6. Morgan Freeman: email to 

1. Dave Grohl - Foo Fighters - Agent: Don Muller - WME 1325 Avenue Of The Americas, New York, NY 10019 T.212.586.5100 F.212.246.3583
2. Adam Levine - Maroon 5 singer - Manger: Career Artist Management - 1100 Glendon Avenue, Suite 1100 | Los Angeles, CA 90024 | 310.776.7640 (p) | 310.776.7659 (f)
3. Jack Black - Agent: WME 1325 Avenue Of The Americas, New York, NY 10019 T.212.586.5100 F.212.246.3583
4. Meryl Streep - Publicist: Leslee Dart. Dart Group. 90 Park Avenue. 19th Floor. New York, NY 10016. Phone: 212-277-7555.
5. Viola Davis - Agent: Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) 45 West 45th St. 4th floor, New York, NY 10036 T. 212.687.0092 F. 212.245.5062
6. Morgan Freeman - Publicist: Stan Rosenfield & Associates, Inc., 2029 Century Park E., Suite 1190, Los Angeles, CA 90067, USA. Phone: (310) 286-7474, Fax: (310) 286-2255.
7. Josh Groban
8. Maggie Gyllenhaal (last, but not least)
PAA News

PAAers speaking out!


Karran at SOS: Here's a blog post about PAA founding member Karran Harper-Royal's presentation at the SOS conference last week. We are still waiting for the video. 

Caroline in USA Today on the "Won't Back Down" movie: PAA founding member Caroline Grannan, from San Francisco, calls parent trigger laws a "'destructive idea' that amounts to little more than a misguided populist bid to privatize public education."

Caroline's PAA blog post on the Adelanto parent trigger situation is referenced in this Education Week blog:
"Parents Across America reports that many parents who signed the petition in Adelanto are not in favor of turning Desert Trails into a charter, and that charter operators, preferring to start new schools, may be reluctant to take over an existing school."

Dov in WaPo Answer Sheet: An article written by PAA South Carolina member Dov Rosenberg was published in Valerie Strauss's Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post. He lists the 10 most damaging corporate reform lies. Here are three:
Lie #3. Testing anxiety is rare, affects mostly low-achieving students, and has a minimal impact on test results.
Lie #6. Poverty and high class size don't matter when you have high standards.

Lie #10. Business leaders should run public schools and school systems because they are usually successful when permitted to apply a corporate model to public education.


Sharon on Gulen charter schools: This quote from PAA founding member Sharon Higgins from Oakland, CA, headlined a post in the Daily Censored about the largest charter school company in the US:
"This increasingly well-rooted network provides the Gulen Movement with daily access to the minds of over 45,000 students, and yearly access to hundreds of millions of hard-earned tax dollars."
The author paid special tribute to Sharon's hard work exposing this Turkish network, and also referenced an article about Gulen's influence with Indiana legislators by our Indiana PAA member Doug Martin. 

PAA co-founder Leonie on the Common Core and technology companies: A New York Times blog article on the e-learning industry and the Common Core standards includes this quote from Leonie Haimson, PAA's New York City-based co-founder: "They're literally salivating at the prospect of enhanced profit potential."

More shout-outs from Diane: This week on her blog Diane Ravitch praised Leonie for her stand against StudentsFirst's attack on teachers, mentioned the "good news from New Jersey" PAA affiliate (see below), and encouraged people to get involved with PAA:  "This is a national organization of activist parents who understand what is happening. They oppose high-stakes testing and privatization and they support teachers and professionalism. They are smart and they are fearless." The feeling is mutual, Diane!

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

More from Indy's Doug Martin 

A new post from Fort Wayne, IN PAA member Doug Martin on ties between the mayor of Indianapolis and corporate reformers: "We are trying to spread the word across the country about how one of the only truly community-led charter schools in Indiana is being closed because it isn't playing ball with the corporate reformers." 

Doug writes that "money is flowing to the mayor from those associated with the DeVos/Walton Family American Federation for Children, the Mind Trust, Eli Lilly, etc.  
After a judge placed a restraining order on the mayor concerning the school closing, the mayor is now taking it to a federal venue."

His second piece details "how the mayor has done nothing to close corporate-backed KIPP Indy, despite bad audits, kids dropping out, etc."

New Jersey PAAers push back on virtual schools

PAA member Julia Sass Rubin shared an op-ed published in the South Brunswick Patch by Deborah Cornavaca, an organizer with our affiliate Save Our Schools-New Jersey, as part of a campaign to defeat efforts to open two purely virtual charter schools in New Jersey. "We were successful and the schools will not open this fall, although two hybrid virtual schools are set to open unless blocked by legal action."

Here's a blog post from Oregon affiliate Oregon-SOS on high-stakes testing in response to a published Stand for ChiIdren op-ed.

News from Chicago

19th Ward Parents, working with other Chicago groups, helped gather signatures on petitions for an elected school board in the city which were submitted this week. 

PAA co-founder from Chicago, PURE's Julie Woestehoff, was part of a panel Wednesday that brought parents and teacher together to talk about the pending teachers' contract. Julie made a brief presentation on the myths about charter schools, and others discussed corporate reform, and our students' need for smaller class sizes and social supports among other things.  There was a strong sense of unity on the room no matter what the outcome of contract negotiations.

Julie's in the middle.
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.