PAA Action News
Nov. 29, 2012

Welcome to PAA Action News, the information and action newsletter of Parents Across America, a network of activist parents coming together to strengthen our public schools. If you have questions, comments, suggestions or stories to share, please e-mail us at or visit
Looking for regular updates on key education stories? Join the PAA News List by e-mailing 
PAA Action of the Week
PAA News
Join us!
PAA Chapter and Affiliate News
Blog Highlights
Connect With Us
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube

PAA Action Alert

No cliffhanger for children and schools!

Congress and the White House are working to resolve the "sequestration" threat set up by their failure to agree on a federal budget last year. Without a budget agreement, massive across-the-board program cuts will kick in. This may include:
  • Loss of 100,000 Head Start slots.
  • Service cuts to 500,000 special needs students.
  • An end to Title 1 grants, affecting 2 million students.
  • Huge class size increases and service cuts as districts are forced to terminate tens of thousands of teachers and support staff.     
PAA supports saving money by cutting ineffective and damaging programs like Race to the Top, massive new testing systems to support the Common Core, and further expansion of charter schools. We oppose cuts that harm the neediest children and communities.

What can you do? 

Call your Congressman and Senators today and make sure they support education spending - but only those programs that are supported by research, not wealthy philanthropists. E-mail them PAA's fact sheet, "Research showing NCLB Doesn't Work and PAA Positions Do." (downloadable pdf here).

And consider signing this petition, "Do not throw our kids over the fiscal cliff; raise taxes on wealthy & cut Race to the Top instead!" by Class Size Matters and PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson.
PAA News

This excellent piece on school funding co-written by our Connecticut PAA leader, Wendy Lecker, was printed in the Hartford (CT) Courant, and reposted on the Washington Post Answer Sheet blog. Here's an excerpt:

PAA-CT members

In Connecticut and nationally, courts have consistently ruled that underfunded schools amount to constitutional violations of children's right to an education.

In New York, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Washington and many other states, courts determined that there is a causal connection between students' poor performance and inadequate school funding. Unlike the modern corporate education reformers, who vilify teachers and educational experts, courts value their firsthand knowledge of school conditions and the resources needed to give all students an equal opportunity to learn. When shown evidence of conditions in schools, courts consistently find what CCM contends - without adequate funding, schools cannot provide an adequate education.


"Educate All Kids Like Sasha and Malia: Obama's education policies are failing children, except for his own," by PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson, of NYC's Class Size Matters, was published by In These Times.

Rather than follow blindly in the path of privatization and unleashed free-market competition that led to the collapse of our economy, it's time for Obama to start listening to the priorities of parents and treating teachers as professionals. Cramming kids into classes of 30 or more and putting them on laptops while supervised by novices will never enhance their creativity or critical thinking skills.



PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff, of affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) in Chicago, was interviewed for a local NPR station story on parents opting out of testing. 


She was also quoted in several newspaper stories (Chicago Tribune here, Sun-Times here) about Mayor Emanuel's proposal to push a school closing announcement deadline back several months. Emanuel wants to close as many as 100 Chicago schools in 2013. The Tribune editorial board, which usually takes the corporate reform side, quoted a PURE blog post in agreeing with PURE's opposition to the mayor's plan. Unfortunately, the state legislature handed Emanuel the extension today, Julie reports.   

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 and Affiliate News

Welcome new chapter, PAA-Atlanta/GA/Atlanta Public Schools!  

We're delighted to welcome another new chapter, this one in Atlanta. Founder Kimberly Brooks is a former PTA president who is studying for her masters degree. Parents in Atlanta are discouraged by the well-known test cheating scandal and recent passage of charter school expansion laws in the state. They feel their voices are not being heard. Kimberly brings a lot of enthusiasm to our national network! You can contact her at

Welcome, Kimberly and Atlanta!

Philly's Parents United for Public Education has a new web site!

Check it out! 

Try PAA affiliate SOS-Portland's testing survey


From our Portland OR affiliate leader Susan Barrett:   


This survey was created rather quickly. Kind of a response to a local issue where the Portland Public Schools are taking heat from the Portland Business Alliance for not going after RttT. More accurately, the teachers are taking the heat. Did anyone ever ask parents what they think? No. But, it is a pretty generic survey about testing.Please take it and share. It is not meant to be a scientific survey. :-) A conversation starter for some, at least.     


Deb Meier to speak at CPS forum this week 


Boston-based PAA affiliate Citizens for Publc Schools is hosting an education  forum on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the main branch of the Brookline Public Library.  

"Come listen and join in a discussion of democracy and the future of public education:  What can we do to stop the privatization of our public schools, and empower parents, teachers and our communities to ensure all our students have the opportunity to learn?"


Forum speakers include Deb Meier. For more information and to register today, click here.  

PAA Blog Highlights

We're really excited that PAA-Seattle founder Dora Taylor has started posting her
PAA founding member Dora Taylor
wonderful Weekly Update on the PAA blog. Don't miss this great resource every Friday. Here's the post from last Friday:

Dora also posted parts 2,3 and 4 of her excellent series on testing:  

Other new blog posts include: