PAA Action News
Sept. 27, 2012

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The reviews are in! 

It's all been about the "Won't Back Down" movie this week.

As early as June, PAA was beginning to expose the "parent trigger"-promoting agenda behind the film, and explaining why charter schools and privatization are not the answer to public school challenges. 

The film opens nationwide tomorrow but PAAers have been at screenings for over a month, writing reviews (here, here and here, for example) and FAQs which have been popping up on the front page of any google search on the movie.

Now the professional movie critic reviews are coming in and it's not pretty. Most think the film is just bad all around, but many also single out its unfair, one-sided attack on teachers and the unrealistic "solution" the movie offers for failing schools.

So, have fun with this. Go to the movie - see what all the fuss is about for yourself. Post a comment on a movie review in the newspaper in your own city or town. Share our Parent Toolkit with your friends, and use it as a springboard for action that might actually work!
PAA News

PAAers in the news

More on the WBD movie

PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson is shown below on E! news at a New York City parents' protest of the movie's screening during NBC's Education Nation earlier this week. She and others shared real life "Won't Back Down" stories of parents and teachers working together to improve their schools.

Down under 

Our international traveler, Karran Harper Royal, has been in New Zealand this week helping them understand the dangers of privatizing their schools. Here's quote from a local newspaper:

Parents Across America founding member Karran Harper Royal said communities should prevent charter schools opening if they could. Charter schools replaced "failing" neighbourhood schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and she said education had suffered. "Schools want the better students so their test scores stay high and they don't get shut. That makes it difficult for those with special needs who may not be as high performing, and it's a problem when you're trying to find a school that will just do a good job educating your child, because schools don't want students who are the hardest to educate." Harper Royal said if Christchurch became a hub for charter schools, people could expect chaos. "Expect families constantly moving children, schools that aren't much better than before, expect to spend more money because you're duplicating services, and expect companies to decide how schools should operate instead of the community."


This excellent article about Karran's trip in NonProfit Quarterly concludes:

In the U.S., we haven't had this national debate. Rather, openness to charter schools has slid into national policy through the "Race to the Top" program plus the charter-focused Promise Neighborhoods projects and some incentive financing structures for charter schools offered by the Education Department. Without all the social entrepreneurship folderol, a solid national policy debate on the costs and benefits of charter schools in the U.S. would be welcome. We'll monitor New Zealand's debate as a substitute. 

Remember Karran's comic book? The artist sends us this update:

It's been a few months, but I hope you've been following the progress of our three part education reform comic, which concluded earlier this month. We're currently running an online campaign to collect pre-orders in order to finance a print-run of the comic, and it'd be great if you could spread the word about it on your newsletter and through your networks. The link to the page is here
Thanks from Dan Archer!

Other media  
  A WBD review by Philadelphia PAA founding member Helen Gym, of  Parents United for Public Education, was published in the Philadelphia Public School Notebook.  

Julie Woestehoff, PAA co-founder from PURE in Chicago, published another WBD review in Huffington Post. Julie was also quoted in the current edition of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators magazine, "Page One," (check out page 12) on standardized testing. The article also mentions the anti-testing resolution passed by the Palm Beach County school board with much assistance from PAA's founding member Rita Solnet.  

Join us!

If you share our overall goals of progressive, positive education reform and more parent input in education policy making, we invite you to affiliate with us if you are an existing group, or to form a new PAA chapter. The more of us there are, the stronger our voice will be at every level. Here's how.  

PAA Chapter/Affiliate News

New chapters!!

We are so excited to welcome two new chapters this week:

First is PAA-Roaring Fork, which we are nominating for the best PAA chapter name so far! The Roaring Fork valley includes Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood
Springs, Colorado. Folks there are gearing up for a big Opt Out of Tests event in
January. We can help! Contact for more information. 

Second is PAA-Detroit, a chapter we've long been hoping for! Detroit shares many of the problems as some of our other big city chapters, and we are eager to work together! Contact

Mecklenburg ACTS

Pam Grundy writes this wrap-up of their excellent adventure at the Democratic National Convention, "A Better Place: Reflections on Education and the DNC." Here's a slice:

I came to the DNC fired up about battling for my vision of educational improvement, and deeply disappointed in my president's education policies. The event worked its magic on me....We became part of that week's educational debate, and found plenty of support among the rank and file. But as the president said, the road is long."

NY, NJ parents are heard at Education Nation

More video here and here from PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson's Class Size Matters-orgaized  actions in New York City around and in front of Education Nation, NBC's annual tribute to corporate reform. 

Advice to Florida parents

PAA's Rita Solnet offered this advice to her chapters around the state:

The real test is Friday, Saturday,Sunday and next week.  Go to the movies.  Listen to the audiences at the end of the movie.

Or, go to Students Firsts meetings being held in many urban cities. They're giving away tickets, totes, food cards, etc.

Or, go to the Chamber of Commerce movie screening and discussions beginning on Oct 1st.

This is what those of us in the trenches must be concerned with - their reactions, their walkaway from this. The fact that many of us are slamming the movie won't have much of an impact on the audiences they are trying to reach -- and the audiences they are reaching.

The View, Oprah, Piers Morgan, Ellen, Jay Leno, The Today Show, MSNBC Interviews are all ongoing since last week.  The hosts are raving about the film (of course). The people we need to reach watch these shows -- they don't read blogs on education.

Blog Highlights

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