PAA Action News
Sept. 5, 2013

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PAA Action Alert

Help PAA inform more parents about Gulen charter schools,
the largest charter network in the US

Through our founding member, Sharon Higgins, of Oakland CA, PAA has been involved in the effort to expose the Turkish Muslim Gulen movement's incursion into our public school system, which has opened at least 135 publicly-funded schools in 26 states (see the list here).

Gulen schools, under such names as Concept, Imagine, Cosmos, Harmony, etc. and usually identified as Science, Math and Science, or Technology Academies, promote themselves as schools of excellence, while hiding their true identity as a front for a foreign cult which seeks to gain power, promote Turkish culture in the US, and bring Turkish nationals here on teaching visas. Much of this is accomplished by targeted wooing of elected officials.

Few parents whose children attend these schools are aware of the real purpose of these schools.

America is a beautiful melting pot, and PAA believes strongly in rich, multicultural teaching and  inclusiveness. That's not what the Gulen schools are all about.

You can read more below about Sharon's recent presentation on the Gulen charter schools at a gathering near the Pennsylvania retreat of Fethullah Gulen, the secretive cult leader.

But for our action of the week, we ask you to share Sharon's presentation with all of your networks to better educate parents and the public about this secretive charter school network. Then share it with your elected officials including your school board.

Here is a two-page flyer about Gulen charter schools to download and share.   

PAA and PAAers in the News

More on Sharon's Gulen presentation

Here's more on Sharon's presentation from the Pocono Record:  

"Sharon Higgins, of California, told protesters she has done extensive research on Gülen-affiliated charter schools in the U.S. She has said she favors public school districts against the privitization of education with charter schools."

She was also mentioned in a piece by a Turkish news agency that covered the event.

Sharon tells us that "this summer's development of such Turkish-American organized events is extremely significant. Until now, there has been little crossover between those who know about, and are alarmed by, the Gulen Movement's increasing power in Turkey and those who know about, and are alarmed by, the charter school expansion being conducted by people associated with that same secretive and controversial Turkish religious group. The events have formed a bridge across the Atlantic that can help Americans understand that there is a dark side to the Gulen Movement."
PAA's Sharon Higgins speaks at PA rally

PAA president Dora Taylor a Progressive featured writer!

The Progressive Magazine announces a major new online resource, Public School Shakedown, to EXPOSE the behind-the-scenes effort to privatize our public schools, and CONNECT pro-public school activists nationwide.

Included among the notable featured writers is our own PAA President Dora Taylor.

The new online publication will offer:

* Live chats with major national figures in the pro-public school movement
* Original reporting telling the whole story of the behind-the-scenes effort to privatize our public schools
* Breaking news updates by a national network of bloggers
* A hub to connect parents, teachers, and concerned citizens who want to defend our public schools
* An interactive map tracking privatization legislation in the States


Dora to review Diane Ravitch's new book

Dora also reports:   


Diane Ravitch is coming to Seattle on September 26th to discuss her latest book, "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools." 


I have been asked to review the book and that review will be posted on September 17th. The book will be available in bookstores on September 18th.


You will not be able to miss this book in the bookstore by the way, that orange on the cover is as bright as one can make it in printed form, seriously. But that's good news for the rest of us because Diane takes the gloves off in this book and you know the corporate owned media will be ferocious in their attack. The more attention this book receives though, the better for public education in general.


The event in Seattle will be held at Kane Hall, Room 103, on the University of Washington campus at 7:30 PM on September 26th. The event is free to all. For additional information, you can check out this flyer.  


See when Diane will be coming to your town - here's the list on Dora's web site - and save the date!   


Julie Woestehoff on Chicago in Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor offered an excellent report on the year ahead in Chicago schools, Chicago opens new school year: Will it be less testy than the last?. Reporter Amanda Paulson interviewed PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff and some other Chicago activists and got a strong, unified message:

The district's critics are focused not only on the school closures, but also on budget cuts, a profusion of standardized tests, large class sizes, and a governance system that includes a mayor-selected school board rather than an elected one.


"It is looking to be our worst year ever," says Julie Woestehoff, executive director of the parent group PURE, assessing the state of the public schools. But she is hopeful that the problems will be a catalyst for change. "Sometimes you have to bottom out in order to make the changes that really need to be made," she says. "That will begin to happen because our parents are very organized, our teachers are very strong, and the community groups are working with everybody.

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 affiliate in Michigan!

We are so happy to add another Michigan affiliate to our roster. Welcome, Friends of Dexter Community Schools, in Ann Arbor, and leader Jennifer Kangas!


From our Sacramento CA chapter leader, Tannia Chavez

I'm sooo excited to announce our First Fundraiser for our Chapter.

We are using Fun Pasta Fundraising.

We are raising funds to do a screening of the movie The BULLY Project and to be able to bring Kirk and Laura Smalley, who lost their son on May 13, 2010 due to Bullying. Ty was only eleven years old. Read more about them and know more about our mission here.

Our group is striving to bring community awareness and understanding about the effects of bullying to our schools and community.  Read more here and consider making a purchase of Fun Pasta to support our cause!

Also, DON'T FORGET to "LIKE US" on Facebook!

Thank You and Have a Nice Day!!

Tannia Chavez   


Pamela Grundy and Peter Wong protest testing

Movement to stop high-stakes testing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg! 

From PAA founding member Pamela Grundy, co-founder of PAA affiliate

" is calling on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to stop giving a set of high-stakes state tests known as Measures of Student Learning.

"At a time of shrinking school budgets, rising class sizes and plummeting teacher morale, the last thing our schools need is yet another wave of expensive, time-consuming tests," notes a statement issued jointly by and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators (CMAE), a local teachers' organization.

The MSLs, required as part of the teacher evaluation component of North Carolina's No Child Left Behind waiver, tested subjects not covered by the longstanding End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) tests. K-12 teachers across the state agreed that the MSLs were poorly designed, did little to promote vigorous and engaging classrooms, and took time and resources away from richer and more meaningful learning opportunities. and CMAE will formally present the proposal to the CMS Board of Education on September 10. They are also calling on North Carolina residents to sign an online petition that supports the call.


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