PAA Action News
March 6, 2014

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

Join the Testing Resistance  
and Reform Spring!

Parents Across America is a partner in a new alliance called Testing Resistance and Reform Spring.

TRRS is an alliance of groups joining together to strengthen the national resistance to the misuse and overuse of standardized tests.

To ensure that assessment contributes to all students having full access to an equitable, high-quality education, TRRS is united around three goals:
  • Stop high-stakes use of standardized tests.
  • Reduce the number of standardized exams and the time and money spent on them.
  • Replace reliance on standardized tests with multiple forms of performance-based evidence of student learning.

TRRS supports a range of tactics including community meetings, rallies, demonstrations, boycotts, opt-out campaigns, petitions, and public education.

We will help local, state and national organizations, as well as individuals, link up with and learn from one another in order to strengthen the movement and improve our capacity to win.


In addition to PAA. the Core Participating Groups who share management of the alliance are: FairTestUnited Opt Out, Network for Public Education, and Save Our Schools.


Other organizations are invited to join TRRS as Partners.


Groups and individuals can use the TRRS site to post events you are organizing as well as to publicize an event and bring people to it.


Posted on the TRRS site are materials you may find of use, such as how and why to opt out, how to hold a community meeting or town hall, how to work with the media, fact sheets on testing and performance assessment and more.


To join, send an email to, let us know a little bit about you or your organization and we will be glad to get you onboard!

PAA and PAAers in the News

PAA President Dora Taylor and Rethinking Schools' Stan Karp
on NPE panel

PAA was well-represented at the Network for Public Education's first annual national conference in Austin, Texas on March 1 and 2. PAA members led workshops and panels and participated in all aspects of the conference.
  • PAA founding members Helen Gym and Karran Harper Royal, along with leader of PAA affiliate Yinzercation, Jesse Ramey, made up the panel on the topic of the Role of Parents in the Advancement of Public Education.
  • PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson moderated a discussion on Student Privacy Issues, which included co-founder Julie Woestehoff as a panelist.
  • PAA founding member Robin Hiller, NPE's executive director, led a panel on How to Recruit Candidates and Help Them Win Elections, which included successful Seattle school board candidate and PAA founding member Sue Peters.
  • Robin also moderated a panel on Opting Out, which featured PAA President Dora Taylor.
  • Leonie  and Dora also spoke as part of a panel on Fighting Venture Philanthropy and Astroturf.

Several of these panels were live streamed. Some of the events are already available here.      

Diane and Julian

The NPE conference was a fantastic opportunity to meet up with activists from around the US and to hear from some of our heroes like Karen Lewis, Julian Vasquez Heilig,Texas Superintendent John Kuhn and, of course, Diane Ravitch.   


PAAers were delighted to have dinner with Julian on Friday evening, thanks to arrangements made by our member Lourdes Perez. We talked strategy, learned a lot, and enjoyed the fellowship.



For a terrific recap of the event, read Jesse Ramey's blog post here.


Philly's Diane Ravitch   


There was a nice profile of Helen Gym in the Pennsylvania Gazette, which calls her "Philly's Diane Ravitch." We agree!


Here's a snippet: 


In Gym's view, an "unfettered choice movement," coupled with a funding scheme in which the School District pays charter operators a per-pupil sum that outstrips the savings it can realize, is undermining the very choice most parents want (but few can afford to move to the suburbs to get): a quality neighborhood school that they don't have to win an enrollment lottery to send their kids to, where flavor-of-the-month pilot programs aren't allowed to eclipse the nuts and bolts of a solid education.  

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 supports Chicago teachers
refusing to give state test

PAA joined Chicago affiliate PURE and local testing reform coalition More Than a Score in publishing a letter of support for the Chicago Public School teachers who are refusing to administer the state (ISAT) test this week.    
More Than a Score, which includes PURE, has organized more than 1000 parents in 80 schools to opt out of the state test, which is being phased out this year but is still taking up most of two weeks of learning time.

PAA Blog Highlights

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

For more....
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