PAA Action News
April 24, 2014

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PAA en Espaňol:
La  Voz de los Padres

We are very excited to be able to begin translating our position papers and other documents into Spanish, thanks to the skill and diligence of our wonderful new Board of Directors member, Maria de Lourdes Pérez Ramírez, founder of PAA affiliate HispanEduca.

Our first offering is a translation of our legislative fax on HR10. We nicknamed HR10 the "More Money for Charter Schools" bill. The English-language version of this piece was faxed to the Senate and House Education Committee members last week. You can read the English version here and more about the issue in our last newsletter. 

For today, we want to share this new feature with you and ask you to share it with your Spanish-speaking constituents and allies. 

PAA endorses May 17th Save Our Schools March in NYC

PAA has joined New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), MORE, Change the Stakes, BATs, Lace to the Top, FairTest, NY Principals, Students United for Public Education and other advocacy groups in calling for community activists, parents, educators, and lawmakers to join together and march in support of a developmentally appropriate and equitably funded public education free from the influence of corporate reform and high stakes testing.


This rally is the culmination of growing resistance to corporate reform as evidenced this spring by over 33,000 test refusals throughout New York State, resistance of high-stakes testing rallies led by NYC principals, and parents, superintendents and school board members coming together to oppose inBloom and student data sharing. Kicking off the event will be renowned education scholar and activist, Dr. Diane Ravitch. In addition to Dr. Ravitch, those attending the Rally will hear from a diverse panel of speakers who have been actively working to resist corporate reform policies. Speakers include Carol Burris, PAA's Leonie Haimson, Brian Jones, Jeanette Deutermann, Dao Tran, Mark Naison, Joe Rella, Jose Vilson, Bianca Tanis and many more.


Be there if you can! Details here.

PAA and PAAers in the News

Big victories for PAAers this week!

inBloom shuts down

Congratulations to Leonie Haimson and others for  challenging the attack on student data privacy launched by  Bill Gates via Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation, aka inBloom, which announced this week that it's shutting down operations.

Leonie, head of PAA NYC affiliate Class Size Matters, worked through PAA and other contacts to organize parents around the US against the potential commercialization of our children's school information. 


Leonie speaks at Nov. 2014 Chicago inBloom forum

WNYC quoted Leonie in its news story:


" 'The whole notion that every single aspect of a student's life should be put online somewhere and stored in a data cloud and shared with vendors is something that horrifies most parents and horrifies most privacy experts,' said Leonie Haimson, an outspoken opponent of inBloom and head of the organization Class Size Matters. She said she viewed inBloom's loss of clients and its decision to close as a victory for parents."  


Here's Leonie's statement on the New York Public School Parent's blog.


Natalie Beyer

NC districts win court challenge


Parents Across America founding member, Natalie Beyer, a school board member for the Durham, NC, school district, reports excellent news for North Carolina schools.  


Yesterday Guilford and Durham County Schools in North Carolina won a preliminary injunction from Special Superior Court Judge Richard Doughton to halt the 25% contract requirements imposed by the General Assembly.   


Those requirements would give teachers who sign the new contract a small raise in return for giving up due process protections. Judge Doughton said that the 25% contract law required school officials to act unconstitutionally and he rejected the argument from the state that local school boards could not sue to stop unconstitutional laws.  


School board member Natalie Beyer said Doughton's ruling was "excellent news." "I'm encouraged that Judge Doughton is taking this concern very seriously on behalf of all North Carolina teachers," Beyer said.

Read the story and Natalie's quote here in the Durham Herald-Sun.    


PAA founders publish again!


We are very proud that two of PAA's founding members, Dora Taylor and Pamela Grundy, have written chapters for the new book,  Digital Networking for School Reform:  The Online Grassroots Efforts of Parent and Teacher Activists. The book is edited by Alison Heron-Hruby and Melanie Landon-Hays. 

Here's the publisher's blurb:  


"This book provides first-person accounts from parents and educators in the United States who have negotiated for a prominent role in current conversations about school reform. Heron Hruby and Landon-Hays argue that it is important to both theorize and document grassroots efforts at a time when digital networking in the Untied States allows a range of people - not just those in conventional positions of corporate or political power - to garner widespread support for education policy. In particular, the book focuses on the shifts in power that take place when teachers and parents are able to carve out successful wide-spread campaigns against high-profile policy movements, specifically the present movement towards charter school proliferation and value-added measures of teacher quality advocated by a growing number of political leaders, political action committees, and privately funded ad hoc advocacy groups. "


Dora, PAA's President and founder of PAA-Seattle, wrote the chapter, "Beginning at the Blog: Moving From Kitchen-Table Plans to National Political Activism Using Digital Narratives."


Pam, leader of PAA North Carolina affiliate Mecklenburg ACTS, wrote "A Community Battles Testing Madness in Charlotte, North Carolina: The Role of Local Knowledge in Spurring Online Collaboration for Change."


Pam notes that the book is priced for academic markets (i.e. a bit high), but check it out for yourself!  


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

Oregon SOS works with Portland school board member to draft CCSS moratorium proposal

Deb Mayer, leader of PAA affiliate Oregon Save Our Schools, reports that OregonSOS and other interested parties, with PPS school board member Steve Buel at the helm, has put together a resolution calling for a three-year moratorium on CC$$ in Oregon.

Here's an article about the moratorium from the Oregonian. The resolution is posted here on the PAA web site. Deb suggests it could be used as a model by other communities.

Michigan parents fighting state takeover, promote parent proposal

News from PAA affiliate Michigan Parents for Schools leader Steven Norton is that they're in the middle of a tough fight to stop legislation which would solidify and expand a state school takeover district for low-scoring schools. Parents and others have held the bill off for a year and a half now, but it's down to the state Senate and working to prevent them from gathering the votes to pass the bill.

Here's what Steve wrote on the MPS blog, which we reposted on PAA's site:

"Current law allows the state government to take over an individual school - lock, stock and barrel - if its test scores place it in the bottom 5% of all schools. Schools are given a chance to dig themselves out, if they can, but after that the State will come in and save the day. The bill now in the Senate strengthens those provisions and lets the state hand schools over to other organizations, including charter school networks.

"What we need is something completely different. We need policy that actively works with local public schools, their elected officials, and their community to find and implement solutions that address their real needs. We need expert diagnosis of what may be wrong, and evidence-based proposals for how to improve struggling schools.


"In short, we need the Parent Proposal to Assist Struggling Schools, embodied in HB 5268, now languishing in the House Education Committee. The takeover bill currently in the Senate allows lawmakers to make themselves look "forceful" and claim to have "taken care of business." What we really need are effective systems to help our districts and communities in trouble repair their schools and rebuild their future. We have the proposal on the table; will our lawmakers have the courage to embrace it?"


Chicago parents to host testing forum  


On Tuesday, April 29, PAA affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education in cooperation with the More Than a Score coalition will host a forum at 6 pm at Union Park, 1500 W Randolph Street in Chicago.


Here's what they'll be talking about:

  • Why the NWEA is a bad high-stakes test.
  • How some children can safely opt out of NWEA.
  • Opting out legal issues.
  • What we can do in Springfield and at home to change state testing laws.
  • The connection between tests and school closings/turnarounds.
  • The next wave of tests: Common Core and PARCC.
  • Our alternative - what's wrong with report cards???

MTAS will provide user-friendly information, handouts, flyers, and how-tos.

Child care and translation will be provided.


Questions? Email us at

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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