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Issue # 20
     August 16, 2012

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

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PAA Action Alert


Tweet CBS!

Let's keep up the pressure on the "Teachers Rock" show and its propaganda for the "Won't Back Down" parent trigger movie

The "Teachers Rock" concert took place with little notice Tuesday in LA. Tomorrow at 8 pm ET CBS will air
a one-hour special using footage from the concert and the Won't Back Down movie, tributes to teachers from stars, etc.

If you take a quick look at the Facebook page for the WBD movie, you'll see from the comments that most people have seen through the hype of this latest corporate reform propaganda push. Let's make sure that our voices continue to be heard.

Here's what you can do:

PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson prepared this great FAQon the WBD movie which was just published on Huffington Post. Post comments and share widely!

Before, during and after the CBS show, tweet about it. Tweet CBS @CBS, or e-mail them at Tell them you are upset that they are promoting a movie with an anti-teacher, anti-public school theme. Tell them you are an  empowered parent against the parent trigger.

You might want to follow some of our tweetiest PAA leaders - @KHRoyal, @ritacolleen, @leoniehaimson, @Caroline91427, @andreamerida, @pureparents,
@wlecker, @carolinanatalie, also @parentsacrossam

Here are a few more message points:
  • The Won't Back Down movie and the 8/17 Teachers Rock program 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 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 aren't fooled by the "Parent Tricker" or the Won't Back Down movie.
PAA News

PAAers in the News

Who Is Behind The Privatization Of Education:Gates, Broad, KIPP, Pearson, EdWest & The Gulen Schools
Who Is Behind The Privatization Of Education:Gates, Broad, KIPP, Pearson, EdWest & The Gulen Schools

Sharon at Laborfest:
Watch this video of PAA founding
member Sharon Higgins at LaborFest on July 29th in San Francisco.

Sharon talks about the Gulen movement and its charter school network for about 18 minutes, starting @ 49 min. into the video (>1:07:00 min.).

PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson was interviewed today by FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Media) radio on the Parent Trigger, the CBS special and the film "Won't Back Down."

The segment will air on CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show, which airs on about 130 stations, in NY on WBAI on Sunday evening, and will be available as a podcast on Friday.  

Check this link to see when the show will be aired in your community.

PAA and PAA Chicago affiliate PURE
merited a mention in the esteemed Springfield (IL) education policy newsletter, "Jim Broadway's School Policy Updates." Jim writes:

(F)or those who missed "Waiting for Superman," let's consider yet another massive assault on public education, this one wrapped in a heart-warming story of "two determined mothers, one a teacher, who will stop at nothing to transform their children's failing inner city school."

The newest incursion of the school-privatization advocates is called "Won't Back Down." It is a full-length propaganda film that is to be introduced at a star-studded promotion in Los Angeles tomorrow. It has Parents Across America and our PURE friend Julie Woestehoff all upset.
The story is purported to be that of parents who pulled "the trigger" on a failing California school after being rebuffed by an entrenched and unresponsive school "bureaucracy." As PAA points out, the "true story" is that the parents merely fronted corporate school-privatization forces.

To read the full story, try a free trial subscription
of this unfailingly useful Illinois legislative newsletter.

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

Meet the founders!   

Since the reach of PAA has been expanding lately, two of our co-founders, Pamela Grundy and newsletter editor Julie Woestehoff, thought newsletter readers would like to learn more about some of our organization's key figures. Due to space limitations, we're publishing excerpts of the profiles here. You can find longer versions on the PAA blog. There are a lot of great people to cover, so it will take a while. Look for future installments in coming weeks!

In the beginning, there was      Leonie Haimson.


Leonie was a key force in the creation of Parents Across America, and remains at the heart of our activities. From her computer in her Greenwich Village office, she writes, researches, and stays in touch with activists and reporters across the country. After more than a decade of educational work, she has become an expert in the ins and outs of politics and policy - how to organize a conference or a demonstration, when to alert the press to an important story, when and how to investigate a dubious educational claim.


Leonie always grounds her actions in schoolhouse-level reality, drawing on her lengthy experience as a New York public school parent, and her concerns about the way she has seen corporate "reforms" demonize teachers, ramp up high-stakes testing and promote privatizing measures such as charter schools. In addition to PAA, her activities involve running the influential Class Size Matters organization and helping administer the always-lively New York City Public School Parent blog, which has become a center for information and discussion about New York City schools.


PAA came out of the contacts forged by Leonie and educational activists working in other communities around the country. These contacts helped them realize that many of them were battling the same forces and the same bad ideas. "A lot of us were saying the same things and fighting for the same things," Leonie explained. "We thought if we got together it would amplify our voices."


Although it's hard for an organization with a shoestring budget to combat the well-financed forces of privatization, Leonie is proud of the variety of actions that PAA and its members have taken and of the respect the organization has gained with the quality of its position papers and its stands on key issues such as class size, testing, fairness and equity.


"Our strength is that we're right on the issues and most parents agree with us," she explains. "Our message resonates with a lot of people."


Read more about Leonie here.    


CPS to hold forum with Jonathan Kozol


From our Boston affiliate: Our public school teachers and students are increasingly under siege. Groups like Stand for Children, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst and similar phony grassroots organizations have become channels for the billionaire owners of Bain Capital, Walmart and others who think they know what is best for our schoolchildren. These groups invest millions in lobbying and public relations to privatize and reshape public education to their liking.

Citizens for Public Schools has been fighting for excellent and equitable public education for 30 years. As part of this effort, we are delighted to present:


Jonathan Kozol 

30th Anniversary Mary Ann Hardenbergh Lecture
The Memorial Church, Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA 02138
September 19, 2012, at 7:30 p.m.

Click here to register online. 

PAA Blog Highlights

In addition to the blog posts mentioned above was this new PAA blog post 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.