PAA Action News
Oct. 31, 2013

Welcome to PAA Action News, the information and action newsletter of Parents Across America.
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PAA Action Alert

Sandra Boynton (whose illustration is shown left) along with 119 other children's book authors and illustrators just signed an open letter to President Obama opposing the
overuse and misuse of standardized tests.

FairTest organized the signatories, who oppose "the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration's own initiatives, on children's love of reading and literature" and endorse "authentic performance assessments, not simply computerized versions of multiple-choice exams."

The full list of authors and illustrators is here.

To honor these artists, please pick up one of their books today and read it to your child! A few good suggestions:  
Explore the list and find some new favorites!

PAA and PAAers in the News

More endorsements for PAA founding member in Seattle school board race

PAA president Dora Taylor, co-founder of PAA-Seattle, reports that fellow PAA-Seattle co-founder Sue Peters, who is running for Seattle school board, has been endorsed by the Seattle Medium newspaper, the American Postal Workers Union-Seattle Local, the Green Party, and Sarah Sense-Wilson, local Native American leader.

Congratulations to our colleague. We are always  pleased when strong supporters of public schools run for school board. However, as a non-partisan, non-profit organization, PAA does not endorse candidates for public office.

You may read about all of the candidates running for Seattle school board here.

NYC parents still waiting for Common Core hearings

PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson, leader of PAA NYC affiliate Class Size Matters, was quoted in the "Capital" about the vague promises for public hearings on the Common Core in New York City. She said, "it's extremely peculiar and hard to understand" why the state didn't schedule forums in New York City "until after people had complained....It's really confounding to parents, and it seems to indicate that [State Education Commissioner John King] holds New York City parents in even lower regard than he holds parents in the rest of the state, which is not saying very much."  


More on inBloom in Illinois

PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff, of PAA Chicago affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), was interviewed on two downstate Illinois radio stations recently on inBloom's move into the state. You can listen to her interview on Springfield's WJBC here.

Leonie will be the featured speaker at a November 21 forum in Chicago on inBloom and student data privacy. Details in PAA Chapter and Affiliate News below.   
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 chapter!

We are very happy to welcome a new chapter in Pennsylvania, PAA-Suburban Philadelphia, and leader Danielle Arnold-Schwartz. Danielle is a parent and teacher - please take a minute to look at her wonderful blog, "What's the Big Idea Schwartzy!"

Chapter/affiliate web sign-up feature back
pparently the "Start a Chapter or Affiliate" link on our web site has been down for several weeks without our being aware of it. We're back in business now, so If you are interested in forming a PAA chapter or affiliate, get the information you need here! You can also e-mail us at

PAA-South Bend has a new partner

PAA-South Bend leader Don Vila reports that the Indiana chapter has become a part of the local Jobs With Justice campaign. Don was invited to a strategy meeting for the upcoming year and very warmly received by the JWJ leadership.
Don adds, "I would encourage other chapters to pursue similar alliances - it is a natural fit.  While much of our concern is targeted at outcomes for children, degradation of public school employment has a downside for students as well as teachers and staff."

Indianapolis affiliate planning urban education conference Nov. 9

PAA-Indiana leader Delana Ivey has announced the "Active in Urban Education Conference." The conference was born of a need for a wider conversation about education in Indianapolis. "You are invited. We will all listen. This is your time to explore selected education topics by sharing your knowledge and experiences, while learning from fellow conference participants. Trained facilitators are there to move the group conversation forward and scribe themes and ideas."

For more information and to register, please go to the event website here.

Two major events coming up in Chicago

PAA and PAA's Chicago affiliate, PURE, will be represented at the first annual Chicago Neighborhood Schools Fair, scheduled for Saturday, November 16.

Local School Council members, parents and others came up with the idea for this fair after noticing that the Chicago district holds fairs for charter and other non-traditional schools, but rarely promotes neighborhood schools.

The Neighborhood School Fair will let prospective parents know that neighborhood schools are a good choice for their children and help parents already at neighborhood schools strengthen their schools. It will highlight the many wonderful programs and involved families at neighborhood schools across the city and bring together parents and students for a meet and greet that reaches across neighborhood boundaries.  

More information here. Can't attend? Please like the Neighborhood Schools Fair Facebook page!

inBloom forum with Leonie Haimson

As mentioned above, PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson will be the main presenter at a forum on inBloom in Illinois on Thursday, November 21 in Chicago.

Next year, the Chicago Public Schools plans to join a state database of private student information created by inBloom. The Nov. 21 forum will give parents, students, teachers and the general public a chance to find out what's going on, learn about parent, student, and teacher rights, and join with others to protect our privacy!


The forum is sponsored by More Than a Score, Parents United for Responsible Education, Parents Across America, Raise Your Hand, Parents 4 Teachers, Chicago Teachers' Union, ACLU of Illinois, Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education, and Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.

More information here.

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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