PAA Action News
Feb.18, 2015

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PAA Action Alert

Contact Congress today!
HR 5 may be voted on next week

We expect the full U.S. House of Representatives
to vote on HR 5, the "Student Success Act," perhaps as soon as next Tuesday, Feb. 24.

HR 5 is the House version of a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It was voted out of the House education committee last week.

THIS WEEK, House members are working in their home districts, which makes it the perfect time for you to call, visit, fax or email your reps to share our 1-page chart outlining PAA's position on HR 5.

We have also posted the chart on our web site here.

PAA faxed the chart to the district offices of all members of the House education committee earlier today.

PAA's position

We support some of the changes HR 5 makes to ESEA and some of the things held over from the current law, such as mandated reporting of disaggregated academic data.

But we feel there are several major problems with this bill including: 
  • Less funding overall at a time when schools are being asked to do more;
  • A continued overemphasis on standardized tests;
  • Too much money for charter schools and other private providers;
  • Opening a door to vouchers with a plan to allow Title I funds follow the student (fund "portability"); and
  • Removing the requirement that teachers be highly qualified.

Please take a moment today or tomorrow to reach out to your Congressman or Congresswoman at this critical time.   


Thank you!   


Mark your calendars!

Sign up for our March 2, 8 pm ET webinar
on the Impact of Poverty, Race and Cultural Bias
on Educational Opportunity

Join PAA Board member Nate Harris, Dr. Paul Thomas of Furman University, and other PAA leaders for this webinar building on a great session we had on this topic at our July 2014 national conference.

Dr. Thomas blogs at "Radical Scholarship" and has published many important  books on the corporate takeover of education, parental choice, teaching and learning, etc.

We'll share important information about some of the key social issues that impact education, and some disturbing data that every parent and public education advocate ought to know. We'll talk about the real agenda behind corporate reform and what PAA is working for instead.

Register here for this important event.

April 24-26: Network for Public Education Conference

Looking forward to seeing lots of friends at the NPE conference in Chicago. PAA will offer a workshop on the Impact of Race and Poverty on Education. We also hope to have a PAA get-together as the NPE conference gets underway. Register here if you have not already done so. 

Looking way ahead....
PAA annual conference in DC

We have set tentative dates for our annual conference in DC - July 21-24, 2015. Pencil us in! 

PAA and PAAers in the news

Ed Week links to PAA press release on testing and "Option 1"

We just noticed that Alyson Klein's January 16, 2015 Education Week blog post on Sen. Lamar Alexander's ESEA bill includes a link to PAA's press release on that bill.

You have to subscribe to Ed Week to see the link along with her comment that "lots of anti-testing groups, including Parents Across America, are jumping for joy just to see (Option 1 on grade-span testing) enshrined in real live legislative language."

"Standardized" makes the news in Phillly

The suburban screening of Standardized made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which quoted Danielle Arnold-Schwartz, leader of our chapter, PAA-Suburban Philadelphia:

"These days eighth-grade teacher Danielle Arnold-Schwartz has picked up the baton from (Teacher, Todd) Marrone, who died in December 2013. Arnold-Schwartz also started a blog and has expressed worries about the role of corporations in testing and related school matters. "As a teacher I get e-mails all day from companies trying to sell Common Core test prep," she said, adding she wonders whether those efforts will have an impact on suburban schools.


"Cities were the appetizer for corporate education reform," said Arnold-Schwartz, citing Philadelphia, where children and parents have been abandoning decaying public schools for charters, "and suburbs are the main course." Her own children will sit out the PSSAs in Lower Merion this spring."

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
Make Time to Play!
Photo from 

Deb Mayer, our newest PAA Board member and leader of PAA affiliate Oregon Save Our Schools,  posted this report on their group's successful "PlayDate" event designed to be a fun way to highlight parents' right to opt out of testing and children's need to play.

Photo from

Parents learned about the new Common Core Smarter BAC tests and how to opt out of them. Families, including that of PAA friend Jesse Hagopian, author of the great book, More Than a Score, made their own posters about why they are opting out.

Jesse also talked to parents and teachers about his opt out experiences in Washington State and how testing is affecting teachers and teaching. 

Bipartisan Bill to Repeal Common Core
is Proposed in Washington State

PAA-Seattle leaders David Spring and Elizabeth Hansen wrote this report: 

Yesterday, several hundred Washington parents, teachers and students rallied at the state capital in Olympia to protest high stakes tests. Some of the leaders of this rally later met with legislators ready to act to change the direction of the state educational system. We already see the result. At noon today, February 17 2015, State Senator Maralyn Chase, a Democrat from Shoreline and State Senator Pam Roach, a Republican from Enumclaw, proposed Senate Bill 6030 in the Washington State Senate to
repeal Common Core and S-BAC and return to the prior Washington State Standards and Washington State test called the Measurement of Student Progress or MSP.


Washington state is not only the home of Bill Gates and Common Core, it is also the home of the notorious S-BAC Common Core test - a high stakes high failure rate test that has already announced that it will label two out of every three children who take it this spring to be "failures." Despite these obstacles, in May 2014, the Washington State Republican Party passed a resolution to repeal Common Core and the SBAC test. Then in January 2015, the Washington State Democratic Party became the first State Democratic Party in the nation to pass a resolution opposing Common Core.


Cosponsoring this bill are Democratic Senators John McCoy from Marysville and Bob Hasegawa from Renton and Republican Senators Mark Miloscia from Federal Way, Mike Padden from Spokane and Brian Dansel from Republic. State Representative Elizabeth Scott announced that she will also file a Common Core repeal bill in the Washington State House of Representatives.

Here is a link to the bill page

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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