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Issue # 23
     September 6, 2012

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

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PAA Action Alert


NOTE: PAA is transitioning to a new web site (same url) but there may be brief periods where links to our site will not work. Please be patient and try again later so that you don't miss out on some great stories!    


Get Educational Courage!     

A new book just out presents "the voices of those who are resisting market-driven initiatives such as high-stakes testing, charter schools, mayoral control, and merit pay."

"This book helps us to be audacious in our activism and in our vision."
-from the Foreword by Deborah Meier

"Educational Courage" includes chapters by activist teachers, students and parents including PAA's co-founder from Chicago, Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE).

The publisher has also set up a web site which offers "practical materials" including some of PURE's fact sheets, and information about organizations represented in the book. 

Take a look! Get inspired! Get educational courage!!

Tune in to Rita FRIDAY

Speaking of educational courage, PAA's Florida founding member, Rita Solnet, will lead a webinar for SOS on Friday, Sept. 7, at 8:30 pm ET, on the "Won't Back Down" movie and the parent trigger.

You can register here for the webinar.

If you do a google search on the WBD movie, Rita's Washington Post Answer Sheet review comes up 4th - after the movie's own web site and its youtube trailer. That's a powerful parent voice!

On the webinar, Rita will talk about the movie itself (she has seen it!), what's behind it and what we can do about it all.    


For more information, visit the SOS web site.   


We're number one!

PAA had a great shout-out this week from Diane Ravitch, who listed "Join Parents Across America " first in her list of suggested "take action" steps in a special letter to her readers.

It is both a great tribute to our work and a challenge for us to meet those high expectations! But we are confident that we can do it if we stay focused and keep working together.

So, join us!!!            

PAA News


PAA/ers in the News

Two PAA shout-outs from NEPC!

Michelle Fine and Stan Karp mention PAA in their critique of a report from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, "Parent power: Grass-roots activism and K-12 education reform": 

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) and newer networks like Parents Across America (PAA) also advocate locally for reforms, including smaller class size, less testing and authentic parent participation, while challenging many of the policies advocated by the ERAOs. These groups face some of the same dilemmas as those raised by McGuinn and Kelly, but their reform agenda is very different, as they seek system-wide improvement for all, not exit for a few. (p. 4)

Also, PAA was mentioned in the context of the Florida push-back on the parent trigger in another NEPC critique n the the parent trigger itself, "Missing the Target? The Parent Trigger as a Strategy for Parental Engagement and School Reform" (p. 7).

Moms on the Loose near the DNC

The big to-do this week was the Moms on the Loose from PAA's North Carolina affiliate, Mecklenburg ACTS, headed by PAA founding member Pamela Grundy, challenging the privatizers outside of the Democratic National Convention at two events. One was a screening of the WBD movie, and the other was a "town hall" meeting sponsored by Democrats for Education Reform, where the actual townsfolk were disinvited!

Pam's going to write up a summary for next week's newsletter, but here are some choice news clips:

Pamela's article in the Washington Post Answer Sheet blog, "Lifelong Democrat ready for fight in Charlotte over school reform.
Moms booted from Michelle Rhee's film screening during Democratic Convention

From Huffington Post:

Pam Grundy, an activist from Charlotte who founded
a local education group, called the film "a Hollywood fantasy" and said she and others from her group would be outside the theater handing out literature to "set the record straight."

"Don't try this at home. It's an inspiring story of two women coming together to make things better for their kids, but the direction they go in, in taking over their school and turning it into a parent-teacher charter school, is not a realistic way to really improve schools," said Grundy, who is also a founder of the national advocacy group Parents Across America.


"The idea that a charter school is going to magically change everything and just make things better for the kids is just not based in fact," she said. "Charter schools are every so often better than comparable schools, but they're more often worse."

Don't miss Pam's recent PAA blog posts:
Here's another PAAer on WBD in People's World:

Leonie Haimson, a longtime public school parent activist in New York, says actual efforts to use parent trigger laws "have been driven by billionaire-funded supporters of privatization, and have sparked acrimony and division. None of these efforts has actually improved a school." Haimson is a leader of
Parents Across America, along with other public school activists.

Leonie was also recently interviewed on the parent trigger and the WBD movie on Fair radio. Listen here.
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 will return next week!  
PAA Blog Highlights

In addition to the blog posts mentioned above was this new PAA blog post this week featuring PAA's Karran Harper Royal's talk at the Netroots conference:
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.