PAA Action News
Sept. 19, 2013

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PAA Action Alert

null Buy, share, and talk about Reign of Error
Diane Ravich's new book, Reign of Error, just came out and everyone's talking about it!

Diane has been all over the airwaves and in print.   Our own PAA President Dora Taylor and PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson have written excellent reviews.

 Dora's review (also posted on the PAA site) neatly summarizes the book:

This book is a perfect reference guide to all things ed reform. Don't understand much about test scores? Check out the chapters "The Facts About Test Scores" and "The Facts About International Test Scores". Don't know the history of Michelle Rhee? Go to "The Mystery of Michele Rhee". How about the Parent Trigger? Read the chapter "Parent Trigger or Parent Tricker". (Love the title).


The best part is that after Dr. Ravitch explains all things corporate reform, she provides real solutions to the challenges of public education. The answers aren't easy, there is no silver bullet as she explains, but the solutions are based on a wide range and depth of knowledge, history, experience and good old-fashion common sense."


Leonie's review includes a call to action that we'll use as our Action Alert for this issue:

To defeat the likes of Murdoch, as well as the other pirates and privateers circling our schools like sharks,  we need to become better organized and enlarge our allies. You will never find a more succinct and compelling book than Reign of Error, with a crystal clear analysis of the way in which our schools are being driven into the ground by the Billionaire Boys club of Gates, Broad, Walton, Murdoch and Bloomberg, and other ideologues and opportunists eager to join in. 

So go buy a copy for yourself, but more importantly, give extra copies to family members, your neighbors or even your school board. Send the book to your local legislator or Congressman, especially if he or she tends to support whatever nonsense the Obama administration is pushing in the name of education reform.  
Give a copy to your brother, who works in finance and thinks that charters are the magic bullet that will help students in struggling urban districts. Send it to your cousin, a recent college grad who wrongly believes that Teach for America is the best thing since sliced bread. Order the book for your mother, who knows better but isn't secure enough in her facts to be able to argue these issues with her friends. Buy a bunch and give them to all your relatives - and then discuss the book at Thanksgiving dinner.

We need to engage and woo potential allies, to show them how corporate greed and delusional deference to the free market is destroying public education, just as it crashed the economy --and that there is a better way to support, strengthen and improve our public schools. We must win this battle for the soul of our education system before it's too late. I can think of no better way to achieve this necessary goal than making sure that as many people as possible read this book. 
PAA and PAAers in the News

YAY! PAA in Reign of Error


Check out the
index of


Diane Ravitch's
new book
under "P"!

"Manufactured STEM crisis": Sharon Higgins in Diane Ravitch's blog

Diane's September 14 blog included comments from PAA founding member Sharon Higgins on the hype surrounding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, which has been driving a lot of education reform strategies and the push for the Common Core. Sharon calms the STEM tide with some facts: there is no shortage of scientists, and jobs in STEM-related fields are not as hot as the rhetoric would suggest.   


North Portland Math Lab

Successful "Girls Lead Summer Math Camp"


STEM rhetoric aside, all students need excellent math instruction, and Great Schools for America reports on a recent success led by Deb Mayer, one of PAA's Portland OR leaders.      


Deb writes, "Girls Lead Summer Math Camp was a success. Now we want to keep the program going by continuing with a math center in the neighborhood to serve needy children struggling in math. Over the next few weeks and months, we would like to see Key Math Lab PDX find a permanent home and stable funding to serve the kids in North Portland. Could the selection of an inferior math text/publisher affect the math education of a generation of students?  We think it's possible.  Read the full story here.   


Mecklenburg ACTS goes to the Board of Education   


The Charlotte Observer reported on a protest by PAA North Carolina affiliate Mecklenburg ACTS at this week's local school board meeting.  


PAA founding member and leader of Mecklenburg ACTs, Pamela Grundy, writes:


"This past Tuesday, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg null Association of Educators officially presented the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education with a request to stop administering the Measures of Student Learning (MSLs), a set of federally-mandated exams designed to evaluate the state's teachers under the terms of North Carolina's Race to the Top grant and No Child Left Behind waiver. ("Let Teachers Teach") 


"When the MSLs debuted this past spring, they were broadly criticized for flawed design as well as for diverting tremendous amounts of time and energy from teaching and learning. Because the state had provided no funds for administering or grading the exams, districts had to shoulder the administration costs, and teachers had to grade the exams themselves - with no additional compensation.

"Outcry over the exams was so great that the state of North Carolina has asked the U.S. Department of Education for permission to slow the exam rollout and consider alternatives. But that process is unlikely to move quickly enough to stop the exams planned for this fall. Rather than force our teachers and students to waste more time with these problematic exams, we believe that our Board of Education should do the right thing and stop the exams in CMS." 


Read Pam's blog, "Why we asked our Board of Education to stop our state's new tests," here on the PAA site.



null Julie Woestehoff on Rahm Emanuel in Chicago Tribune

Just after starting the year with 49 fewer schools -- necessary, according to officials, because of budget shortfalls -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been on a spending spree, announcing new school additions and other enhancements for schools in mostly middle class neighborhoods.    


Today's Chicago Tribune quoted PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff saying:   


"I think it's becoming pretty clear that there's money, and crying poor a few months ago, which required the closure of all those schools, was just smoke and mirrors," said Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education. "Now they're pulling out all these projects.


"The mayor thinks he's going to win people back after he's decimated the system, but I think he's going to find out this is not going to work," Woestehoff said. "He can't be Lord Bountiful now that he's known as the one who destroyed the school system."


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PAA Chapter and Affiliate News

More on Diane


Dora reports that 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." 


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.

Illinois group to discuss school funding

A new state wide group convened by PAA co-founder Julie Woesethoff, executive director of Chicago affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education, will hold its second meeting on Friday, October 11, at noon, at 70 E Lake Street, Chicago.

Special guest will be Ralph Martire, renowned head of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Illinois.

Details on the PURE web site here.     


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