PAA Action News
Feb. 7, 2013

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

Like the Journey 4 Justice Facebook page!

PAA founding member Karran Harper Royal and 500 others traveled to DC from all across the US to testify against the discriminatory impact of school closings.

They're looking for 500 likes on their Facebook page by midnight tonight. Let's show our support for Karran and the J4J2. Just click here.   

Save the date for the next PAA webinar

Our next webinar will focus on school closings and feature Karran Harper Royal and others fighting closings in their cities.

Tentative date/time: Sunday, March 3 at 1 pm PT/4pm ET. Details to come.

If you missed our January webinar on testing with FairTest's Monty Neill, Garfield teacher Sarah Richardson, and opt out advocates Tim Slekar and Shaun Johnson,  you can listen to it here. We were oversubscribed last time, so watch this space for the next webinar registration link!
Space still available for the first PAA/Public Schools Across America Regional Action Planning Meeting!

When/Where: Saturday, February 23, from 12 noon to 5 pm ET, in Ft. Wayne Indiana.

The purpose of the meeting is to share information about local public school concerns, identify common themes, and begin to strategize about possible regional joint action.

We are focusing on the 4-state region of Ohio, Indiana. Michigan and Illinois but  anyone wishing to participate and willing to travel to Ft Wayne is welcome!

PAA chapters and affiliates will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face and learn more about how PAA can support your work.    

 Details and registration here.  

PAA News

Anti-testing week

PAA and other activists all over the US helped turn one state's testing week into a national anti-testing week!

Leading the way with parent support for the Garfield High school teachers was PAA-Seattle with PAA co-founders Dora Taylor and Sue Peters.  

The Education Votes blog wrote this:   


"Peters first wrote about the (testing) issue for the Seattle Education

Dora Taylor
Blog, which she co-founded with fellow parent Dora Taylor in response to the threat of closure of several well-functioning neighborhood schools. Soon, she would opt her kids out of the MAP test, which she says is an important option she wishes more parents understood.


Sue Peters

"Parents are used to trusting that these tests are valuable to teachers and given for good reasons, but if you find out that's not the case and that teachers are being forced to do things that aren't even useful, then we need to stand up and advocatefor them," said Peters. "We as parents have a different relationship to the district so in some ways we're freer to stand up and speak out."


Peters, who co-founded Parents Across America in 2010, was one of many Seattle parents who spoke loudly in favor of the Garfield teachers."


Garfield teachers' webinar 

The Garfield teachers are hosting a webinar this Sunday, Feb. 10, at  

5pm PST, 6pm MST, 7pm CST, 8pm EST.You must register via email to receive an invitation to the webinar: Write to 
You will then receive a link to the webinar and easy technical directions for utilizing the free, online, web meeting service. Learn more about the struggle of the Garfield Teachers here.

Portland students opt out of tests

When the Garfield teachers were threatened with suspensions and administrators moved in to give the tests anyway, Seattle parents wrote opt out letters for some 75% of the students, leaving few for the tests to measure.

This Northwest anti-testing fever spread to Portland, where the Portland Student Union and the Portland Public Schools Student Union called for a boycott of the state-mandated OAKS test.

PAA wrote a statement of support for the Portland students, which said in part, 

"We support the efforts by the PPS Student Union and the Portland Student Union to oppose standardized tests, bringing the voice of students to the nationwide movement to replace high-stakes tests with sensible, meaningful evaluations."

You can read more about the students' campaign here. 
Chicago parent signs petition to limit standardized testing.
Chicago parents petition against testing

More Than a Score, a new group co-founded by PAA affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education, passed petitions at 37 Chicago schools Wednesday demanding less testing and more testing transparency.

The group's press release can be found here.

Media coverage included the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, the DNAInfo blog, the Chicago Reader, Substance newspaper, and  Catalyst magazine.

PAAers form new NC statewide education advocacy group

PAA founding members Natalie Beyer and Pamela Grundy joined forces with others in North Carolina to form Public Schools First NC, a statewide coalition whose purpose is "celebrate the great accomplishments of our public schools and educate North Carolina citizens so they can be informed about ways to strengthen and support schools and teachers," Natalie told the Durham/Chapel Hill NC Herald Sun.

The group was formed in part to counter plans of the state legislature's newly-expanded Republican majority to increase the number of charter schools, enact school vouchers and other school privatisation efforts. Included in the coalition are Great Schools in Wake, (PAA affiliate) Mecklenburg ACTS, and Action for Children North Carolina.


" 'We're going to be a strong voice,' said Natalie Beyer, a Durham Board of Education member and member of the Public Schools First board of directors," in the Winston-Salem Journal Now.   The group's formation was also covered in the Mountain Express.  

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
More activism in Portland

Susan Barrett, from PAA Portland OR affiliate SOS-Oregon, reports that activists have been collecting signatures on a petition to "Stop closing OUR schools" which were delivered last Friday to to Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith.

The story in Portland sounds familiar: "One particular cluster in Portland has borne the brunt of closures and other woes more than the rest. This community has a higher percentage of low income and minority families.It has the highest number of students, yet lowest capture rate of students. Over 40% have transferred out to charters, focus options, etc. People say they would stay in neighborhood schools, but they don't have the offerings these others do.

Click on the link above to sign the petition.    
PAA Blog Highlights

In addition to the blog posts mentioned above, new posts on the PAA blog include: