PAA Action News
May 30, 2014

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

Support the BATs March on DC

Last week we asked you to save the date for PAA's annual leadership conference July 29-30 in Washington DC, and the evening of July 28th for our dinner recognizing PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson. 

That special dinner will take place on the evening after the BATS march on DC, an event that PAA has endorsed and that we know many of our members are planning to attend. What better way to end a day of action than to gather with friends to honor one of our own amazing activists!

Please consider supporting the BATs march, which is raising money here on GoFundME to pay for: 

1.  Leadership Academy/BAT Breakout Sessions on Sunday July 27th - Conference Room Rental
2.  Food for Sunday Events
3. Supplies for the Leadership Academy/BAT Breakout Sessions/Protest Posters for those traveling from out of town/Children's Craft Items
4.  Rental of a Generator for the event on Monday
5.  Stipends for our Speakers who are traveling to join us
6.  Supplies for Monday event (tables, crafts for kids, and water for event participants)

**Any leftover monies will be donated to charity voted on by BAT members at a later date**

**Please note that BATs is NOT a non profit so this donation WILL NOT BE tax deductible**

Learn more about the BATs march here.

More information about tickets and logistics for the Leonie Haimson recognition dinner will be available soon.
PAA and PAAers in the News

PAA Philadelphia affiliate
wins judgment
against corporate reformers  


Helen Gym, leader of PAA Philadelphia affiliate Parents United for Public Education, reports that the group won a major complaint against the Philadelphia School Partnership.

The PSP is a group of powerful corporate reformers who have lobbied for school closings and against teacher seniority rights. The Philadelphia Board of Ethics just ruled that PSP violated city lobbying laws by failing to register as soon as they committed their first violation, just two days after the city lobbying law went into effect.

According to a story in Philadelphia City Paper,

the Board launched its investigation in response to a December 2013 complaint filed by Parents United for Public Education, which has opposed PSP's effort to radically remake the School District. You can read their complaint and lengthy exhibits, which include the internal minutes of PSP meetings.


"That's why we filed because we think the public deserves to know what's being said on matters of massive importance to our schools and our city," says Parents United co-founder Helen Gym. "What's being said and who's paying for it."


The Ethics Board found that PSP Executive Director Mark Gleason and Managing Director Mike Wang failed to register as lobbyists, and that PSP failed to register as a principal (an entity that hires a lobbyist), failed to file certain expense reports in 2012 and 2013, and made "material omissions" in the their 2013 third quarter expense report.

NC parents keep up fight
against test-based grade retention

PAA affiliate has put together a package of materials documenting problems with the state's third-grade Read to Achieve legislation, especially test-score-based retention. They have called on parents across the state to e-mail key legislators, and will be lobbying at the North Carolina General Assembly this week and next.

As Read to Achieve is based on an ALEC template, the materials might be useful for activists in other states. They can be found at the Read to Achieve section of the website.

Also, the first week of the North Carolina refusal movement has gone relatively smoothly. The movement was covered by the Raleigh News & Observer, and the article was also picked up by the Charlotte Observer and the Columbia (S.C.) State.

More PAAers on the radio

PAA President Dora Taylor, founder of PAA-Seattle, was a guest on local public radio station KUOW today. We'll share the link to her comments when it's posted.

PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff, leader of PAA Chicago affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education, will be back on the radio discussing standardized testing and other topics on "Back on the Beat with Dick Kay" this Saturday, May 31, on WCPT-FM Progressive Talk Radio. She was invited back after a lively session on May 3rd which you can listen to here.  


Rally in NYC challenges corporate reform

PAA was one of the many groups that endorsed the Taking Back our Schools Rally in New York City this week. ChalkBeat New York reported that

hundreds of protesters took on publishing giant Pearson, New York's political leaders, teacher evaluations, and the Common Core standards at a rally near City Hall on Saturday.

Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson read a message from (Diane) Ravitch (who was unable to attend due to medical reasons). But the event included 20 other speakers, including Jose Vilson, a New York City teacher and author, and Dao Tran, a parent who organized other parents to opt out of new bubble tests for young students that had been required for teacher evaluations. 

"The purpose is to show the powers that be that there is unity in this movement," said former social studies teacher David Greene, who chaired the event's organizing committee.

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

Signs at Indy Parent Power conference
Parent Power in Indianapolis!

Friend of PAA Indy affiliate Parent Power, Erin Marie Macey, shared some good news with us: "A parent here in Indianapolis has successfully challenged a punitive homework policy in her school. The policy previously stated that failure to complete homework was considered "insubordination" and students were removed from class to serve in-school detention as punishment for incomplete or missing

"This parent-advocate's actions resulted in three community forums at the school to discuss the policy. Many parents from the school spoke out in support of high expectations for their children and questioned how best to teach them to be responsible students, and the school has formed a committee to revise the policy.
Better yet, it seems to have sparked district-wide discussion about the value and limitations of homework and homework policies." 

Parent power!!!

Save Our Schools NJ asks state commissioner 
to reject hybrid school proposals

We hear from PAA affiliate Save Our Schools NJ that the group has sent a letter to the state superintendent asking that he reject the Mastery and Uncommon Schools applications for renaissance school projects in Camden because they violate the Urban Hope legislation and regulations.


On May 19th, Save Our Schools NJ, a non-partisan, grassroots organization with more than 18,000 members across New Jersey, sent a letter to the state's Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe alerting him to multiple violations of the Urban Hope Act and regulations by Mastery Charter and Uncommon Schools Charter in their applications for renaissance school status in Camden, and asking the Commissioner to reject both applications.

Read more here on

Common Core and other topics to be discussed in Centerville, OH.

Erin Gross, leader of new PAA Ohio affiliate Centerville United for Responsible Education, plans to attend a district Community Information Night regarding education in June. The district's flier is on the left - come out and ask questions if you are in the neighborhood!

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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