PAA Action News
May 9, 2013

Welcome to PAA Action News, the information and action newsletter of Parents Across America.
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PAA Action Alert
Save the date - PAA Parent Trigger webinar!

It's sold as "parent empowerment" but it's really about privatization - and it may be coming to your state soon. Be prepared! 

It's called the parent trigger and it's the topic for PAA's next webinar. Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 26th, at 12:30 PM PST. Our guests will be Lori Yuan, a parent from Adelanto, CA, who was active in the resistance to the Parent Revolution-driven parent trigger campaign there, and PAA founding member Rita Solnet, who just spearheaded the successful opposition to a trigger bill in Florida.

Parent Trigger - False Promises, Divided Communities and Disrupted Young Lives
Parent Trigger - False Promises, Divided Communities and Disrupted Young Lives
Learn from two activist parents what to look our for and what works in dealing with this growing attack on public education. It should be a great discussion!

Watch this space for the link to register for the May 26th webinar.  

Meanwhile, watch and share this 4-minute video, "False Promises, Divided Communities, and Disrupted Young Lives," featuring Lori Yuan on the parent trigger.  
PAA and PAAers in the News
Open letter from Michigan parents to Arne Duncan shared an open letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan written by PAA affiliate Michigan Parents for Schools' leader Steven Norton. The occasion was Duncan's visit this week to some local area schools, including the excellent Perry Child Development Center. 

Steven wrote: "Unfortunately, I fear that your tour may leave you with an incorrect impression of what is in fact happening in our state. The current direction of state policy is not to offer an excellent education to all children. Instead, key Michigan policy makers have adopted an extremely narrow and barren notion of "education" and have focused on how to deliver it at the lowest cost possible. These proposals take us in precisely the wrong direction."

The article described the secret "skunk works" plan under development by Michigan government leaders:

Their plan has two key parts: the first is a voucher-like debit card that students could use to "buy" bits of education here and there. Schools would become simply vendors. If a student "purchases" a bargain education, the balance on the card could be used for extras like sports fees, music lessons, and so on.

The other part of the plan is to create the value-priced school where students could find these "value menu" bargains. The skunk works group hopes to create schools that could operate with $2000 less per pupil than the current minimum funding - but still allowing for vendors to make a profit.

As their documents make clear, the only real way to do this was to depend on fully online education, with a small number of teachers overseeing a large number of students in an internet-based program.   

Thanks to Steven for sharing this powerful piece and for raising an alarm about the direction many of our school districts seem to be headed.   
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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 ANOTHER new chapter in Virginia!

We're so happy to welcome our second new PAA chapter in Virginia in two weeks - PAA-Charlottesville. Chapter leader Ivana Kadija tells us that she is concerned about what the high-stakes testing is doing to her children's education.

So are we - and we're glad to have you working with us!

"Small step" win against primary grade testing in Chicago

PAA Chicago affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education's leader, PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff, reports a small victory over inappropriate standardized testing of kindergarteners and first graders that was announced just a few days after PURE and other groups staged a "Play-In" at school board headquarters demanding "less testing, more playing" in the early years.

The press release from More Than a Score, the coalition behind the Play-In, quotes Rachel Lessem, parent of a Chicago Public Schools 2nd grader saying, "I support the decision to suspend NWEA testing for K-1, but I believe CPS should extend the policy further....All our children are suffering from excessive testing, and it's hurting, not helping their education. They are stressed and bored by these tests, and their teachers are forced to teach to the test instead of creating engaging and creative learning environments for our kids. CPS must do more." 
PAA Blog Highlights

Keep up with our blog for more news and commentary on public education from the parents' point of view.

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