PAA Action News
June 18, 2015

Welcome to PAA Action News, the information and action newsletter of Parents Across America.
Connect With Us
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube

PAA Action Alert

Help find co-sponsors
for H. 2382, Rep. Tom Reed's
Opt-Out bill!

PAA has sent a letter to the office of Representative Tom Reed (R-NY), endorsing his opt-out bill, H. 2382, which is also sponsored by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Chris Gibson (R-NY).

This bill addresses a concern of great importance to parents and to our children, and offers a critical step in moving public education away from the misuse and overuse of standardized tests resulting from years of misguided education policy making.

The long name of the bill is the "Enable More Parents to Opt-Out Without Endangering Resources Act;" the title suggests it's purpose, which is to make clear that schools will NOT lose funding if parents opt their children out of testing. This is an empty threat which can nevertheless make parents' uncomfortable with their decision.
The bill also bans any retaliation or other consequences for students opting out, or for their parents or teachers, a welcome addition.  

We've sent a letter to the members of the House education committee asking them to co-sponsor the bill.

Please take moment to call or email your Congressman and ask him or her to become a co-sponsor of H. 2382 today!
PAA News

July 19-24 is now PAA Week!

After careful consideration, the PAA Board has decided to replace this year's face-to-face meeting in Washington D.C.  with a week of virtual meetings, discussions and webinars.

We are very aware that it's difficult and costly for many of our members to travel across the country, and our travel grant funds are especially limited this year. As a national network that depends on the internet for our existence, we also feel it's time to take our online capability to the next level so that we can have more dynamic, inclusive and effective discussions and sharing/learning opportunities. 

This is both exciting and intimidating!

We are still working on the details, but here's what we can tell you:

When: PAA Week will take place during the same week we had set aside for our D.C. meeting, that is, July 19-24. Throughout that week we will offer a series of webinars and virtual meetings at various times. You will be able to decide which events you wish to attend, if any. We will record them and make them available for those that can't attend in person.

What: The topics will be ones that PAA has been working on recently including Race, Poverty and Education; messaging; advocacy around ESEA and state and local policy making; and our newest project, testing and student mental health. We will also have some internal sharing and planning sessions. Attendance at these will be limited to leaders of PAA chapters and affiliates.

We hope to make this a fun, useful week. We also hope that it will mark the beginning of a new and improved cyber-PAA!

Stay tuned!

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

Welcome new chapter in Madison WI!

We have had so many new chapter and affiliate requests that we are having trouble keeping up with them (but keep those requests coming! - we'll get there!).  


Families United for Public Education is our new affiliate from Madison WI, and we are so happy to welcome them and leaders Laurie Zimmerman and Laura Paella! They are actively up and running as you can see from their Facebook page (go join them!!!) and their web site, which includes this inspiring description:


Families United for Public Education is a group of parents in Madison, Wisconsin who are organizing to make public education equitable, well-funded, and accountable to the communities it serves.


We unite and empower parents and community allies to be strong advocates for academically rich, nurturing school environments for all students in our public schools. Public education cannot thrive without engagement from supportive families and communities, who provide an essential voice in decisions which will determine the course of public education for decades to come.

We focus on four main areas:


Making Sure Wisconsin's Schools Stay Public:

We fight for adequate funding for our schools so that they can provide the necessary resources to support student learning, and we oppose the destructive forces of privatization at the federal, state, and local levels. We reject Wisconsin's increasing use of corporate-driven "school choice" (e.g., vouchers) to divert funds away from public schools that are accountable to parents and communities and focused on all students.


Working Towards Racial Equity:

We believe that schools and communities can only flourish when our children have true equality of opportunity. We support allocating significant resources to our schools and communities in order to close Dane County's racial disparity gap-the worst of any county in the nation. We support practices that engage, rather than exclude, students and families of color from access to educational resources.


Promoting Meaningful Assessment:

We oppose the misuse, abuse, and overuse of testing. We support educationally meaningful assessment that helps teachers effectively engage their students. We oppose testing that seeks to make schools and teachers "accountable" without understanding the variety of challenges facing students and teachers, and that focuses classroom time on test-taking and test-preparation rather than best practices for learning. We support parents' efforts to opt out of these tests and to challenge this system of testing.  


Supporting the Teaching Profession:

We are greatly dismayed by the attacks on teachers and their unions and demand strong, experienced teachers in our children's classrooms. Teachers' hard work benefits us all, and their voices are important to any conversation about our schools. We oppose the de-professionalization of teachers, which will lead to a less-skilled, lower-paid teacher corps that is less able to shape effective curricula and classrooms.


Welcome, FUPE!!! 


PAA blog highlights

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

To learn more...
If you have questions, comments, suggestions or stories to share, please e-mail us at or

Looking for regular updates on key education stories? Join the PAA News List by e-mailing