PAA Action News
Dec. 6, 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
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SUPPORT PAA!  Please use our Donate button to help us continue our important work supporting public school parents and children. 

Here are some effects of PAA's parent power in 2012:

  • PAA challenged parent trigger legislation and won (so far!) in Florida and across the nation.

  • We preempted efforts to use the "Won't Back Down" movie to push parent trigger laws; the movie was roundly panned as propaganda by film critics and ticket sales were dismal.

  • We co-wrote and promoted a National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing which currently has nearly 14,000 individual and 470 group endorsers including school boards.

  • We pointed out major flaws in standardized tests, most notably in Pineapplegate."

  • We reached out to Congress and to parents and the public with letters, fact sheets, and position papers on charter schools, testing, class size, budgets, and other key education issues.
  • Our leaders published articles in such places as the book, "Educational Courage," the New York Times, and the Washington Post and were quoted or interviewed in nearly every major national news outlet from People Magazine and USA TODAY to the Wall Street Journal and Education Week to NPR to CNN and MSNBC.
  • Our chapters and affiliates had many local successes fighting corporate reform and supporting quality public education for every child. These stories can be found every week in our newsletter and on our new website,, where parents can also join in an Action of the Week.

Perhaps the best indication of our growing strength is the near doubling of our chapters and affiliates, which now number 38 across 21 states. We welcome parents and parent-centered public school advocacy groups to join us as we raise our voices in support of our children and our schools.


Unlike asrtroturf "parent" groups, we are an all-volunteer organization with little funding for our expenses beyond individual donations. We need your support to continue raising parents' voices in the fight for our public schools and our children's education. Please give generously!



PAA News


PAA Affiliate Parents United for Public Education files ethics complaint against major Philadelphia foundation  


Our Philadelphia founding member, Helen Gym, shared news reports that her group, Parents United for Public Education, and others have filed an ethics complaint against the William Penn Foundation and the Boston Consulting Group,  alleging that BCG was acting as a lobbyist when it developed a plan for the School District of Philadelphia including major  school closures and charter expansion, funded through and at the direction of the foundation. BCG would have been required to disclose their donors, many of whom remain anonymous, if they had registered as lobbyists.


Helen wrote on the Parents United site:   


"BCG's contracts with WPF explicitly stipulated that BCG's work would promote charter expansion, management networks, identify 60 top candidates for school closure, and impact labor negotiations. Specific mention was made in their contract about influencing the SRC (School Reform Commission) before an important May vote... As a third party entity, BCG had unprecedented access to District Data and financial information all made unavailable to the public. They had unprecedented access to high-level decisionmakers and private forums to push their plans. While parents and community members had to settle for limited information and public processes, BCG circumvented a public process with its unique status as a philanthropic consultant."   


Last week, the head of the WPF abruptly resigned.


It should be noted that the same Boston Consulting Group works for many other school districts across the nation, promoting privatization in much the same way as Broad graduates. Parents, beware!   





PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff, of affiliate PURE in Chicago, was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times on the bogus school closing hearings the district is currently running after having won an extension for announcing the closure list. Julie questions why people are asked to testify at hearings before any proposals have been made.   

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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 in Utica, MI  

We are excited to have a new chapter in Utica, Michigan, called Parents Across Utica Community Schools.

They reached out to PAA for help with their Broad superintendent and a Board President who also runs a "virtual learning academy."

They are asking for our help - please "like" the Parents Across Utica Community Schools Facebook page and follow them for updates and action alerts.

Their story, which follows, can be found in somewhat greater detail on our blog:

The Utica Community Schools is the second largest district in Michigan and has had a strong educational and financial track record. However, Governor Rick Synder certified UCS Board President Carol Klenow as an Emergency Financial Manager. This gives Klenow the power to close schools at will as was seen in Detroit under the rule of Broad Academy graduate Bob Bobb when he served as Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit Public Schools.

After UCS began eliminating a number of classes from their curriculum, the virtual academy run by Board President Klenow indicated that they would offer many of the courses that had been cut from the curriculum. Broad-trained Superintendent Christine Johns has also dismantled many successful district programs and terminated positions, only to rehire them to third-party companies such as the online learning company Dreambox and Discovery Education, which offers digital textbooks and online teacher "assessment services" at a high price.

Klenow was also appointed by the Governor to be on the State Officers Compensation Commission which determines the compensation, benefits and expense accounts of the Governor's Officers including all state officers and legislators. These officials and representatives are some of the highest paid in Michigan's legislative history.

The Governor, State Legislature and other state government executives profit from Klenow determining their compensation. Private companies, such as  Calvert Educational Services, profit as more students with tax-payers' dollars are enrolled in their company's curriculum thanks to state legislators lifting the cap on cyber schools. Many individuals will profit while education methods, as offered by the Oakland County Virtual Learning Academy Consortium and Digital Promise remain untested and unproven, destroying many of the opportunities for students across Michigan.


Pic from PAA-Atlanta leader

This photo of new chapter PAA-Atlanta founder Kimberly Brooks came in too late for last week's newsletter, but that's no reason not to run it this week! Again, welcome, Kimberly!

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