PAA Action News
Dec. 5, 2013

Welcome to PAA Action News, the information and action newsletter of Parents Across America.
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PAA Action Alert
Vote early and often for PAA affiliate Parents United!

During this season of thanksgiving and celebration, please take a minute (and that's all it will take) to thank and celebrate our wonderful PAA affiliate in Philadelphia, Parents United for Public Education. Parents United is a nominee for this year's Philebrity Award for Non-Profit of the Year, and right now it is leading the pack with 38% of the vote!

Help Parents United win this well-deserved award by voting here. Read more about the group and its amazing leader, Helen Gym, in PAA and PAAers in the News below.

PAA and PAAers in the News

PAA founding member wins Seattle school board race!

We are thrilled that Sue Peters, a PAA founding member, won her school board race in Seattle.

Sue won with a decisive 54.78% of the vote, and a vote total of 92,552.

Sue's modest campaign budget looked tiny compared with the $128,000 her opponent raised from corporate reform interests. But Sue's platform of common-sense, student-centered education clearly outweighed the moneyed interests. 

Watch for our detailed report on how Sue put together a winning school board campaign in a future PAA blog post.

Congratulations, Sue, and thank you!

PAAers take the bloom off of student data mining in Chicago

Recently, PAA co-founders Leonie Haimson of New York City's Class Size Matters and Julie Woestehoff of Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) in Chicago joined forces to take on the Rupert Murdoch affiliate inBloom's efforts to begin mining Chicago student data. The result was an announcement by the Chicago Public Schools that they will not share data with inBloom.

Leonie was invited to Chicago by several groups including PURE, the Chicago Teachers' Union, and the local parent testing resistance group More Than a Score, to make a presentation at an evening forum, join CTU, PURE and MTAS members in meetings with the editorial boards of the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, and to testify about inBloom at a state board of education meeting.

The news that CPS would not participate in inBloom was reported in several media outlets including Catalyst Magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times, Education Week, and on Diane Ravitch's blog, which praised Leonie's national campaign against inBloom and called her a "champion of children." We agree!

You can watch Leonie's excellent Chicago presentation here.
Leonie Haimson on Data Privacy and inBloom 
Leonie Haimson on Data Privacy and inBloom

More news from PAA founding member Helen Gym

Helen shares a crazy Michelle Rhee story:  "Diane had chosen me to be on Team Ravitch with Finnish expert and Harvard prof Pasi Sahlberg to debate Michelle Rhee in February. Michelle backed out because she had a second (Rod Paige) but no third!" Read about it in Diane's blog here and in Daily Kos here.
More from Helen: "Jessie Ramey of PAA-Pittsburgh and I worked with other PA parents to create a real education platform for the PA gubernatorial race." Read a parents' platform on education here, and Jessie's post at Yinzercation here.
Listen to Helen talk to NPR about the crisis in Philadelphia's schools.   
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

PAA-Roanoke VA leader on education panel

Laura Bowman, leader of PAA-Roanoke VA, was recently on an education issues panel for a think tank sponsored by Dell. You can read more about the session here

Laura took PAA talking points with her to the Think Tank. She says, "I appreciate all of the advocacy efforts of those in this group. You help give me the courage to speak up for children and public schools." Laura, thanks for helping make parents' voices heard!

More from Laura:

I've had a busy fall advocating for public schools. As the head of the Roanoke County Council of PTAs I led an Education Town Hall Meeting, and as a result of it, our PTA Council is organizing a Resolution Committee to adopt a Resolution Against High Stakes Testing.

I met with Terry McCauliffe, our newly elected Governor of Virginia, while he was running for office. I spoke to him about proven reforms and my presentation was well received. I also spoke with gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and shared my concerns about charters with him.

Successful PAA conference in Indianapolis

The "Active in Urban Education Conference," organized by PAA-Indiana leader Delana Ivey, was a great success.

PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff presented a session on PAA's national action network including federal ESEA reauthorisation, student data sharing, testing, and boycotting WalMart.

You can download and share the Take Action handout Julie brought to the conference along with the fact sheet,  Why would anyone who cares about public schools shop at WalMart?

The best parts of this conference were the people and the discussions. Here's a photo of PAA member Nate Harris in an exchange with an Indy student who asked where the solutions are. Nate says we need to come together to address the bigger picture -- that school systems are designed to serve the majority culture.


And that's what we have to change. 


PAA affiliate Sacramento Stand for the Silent to host another "Bully" screening


From Tannia Chavez, leader of PAA affiliate Sacramento Stand for the Silent:  


Hello Everyone!! Here's our poster for the Screening of the "BULLY" on Saturday January 18th at 9am. DON'T FORGET to join us!! and DON'T FORGET to Share and Forward our post.

Let's make this event BIG!! Lets fill up all the seats like when people go see Transformers on opening night. The only difference is that this movie will Transform you. Instead of being a bystander it will Transform you to be a upstander. To help and Stand Up For The Silent.

Come Join Us!!!

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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