PAA Action News
Aug. 27, 2015

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PAA Action Alert


A new school year.... and some old school problems

Today is the eleventh day of a hunger strike by parents in Chicago protesting the closure and potential privatization of Dyett High School, the area's last open enrollment high school. Dyett parents and community supporters have spent months working with educators to develop a strong proposal for transitioning the school to a global leadership and green technology school, but their ideas are falling on deaf ears at City Hall and in district offices.

The hunger strikers include Cathy Dale (pictured top right corner), a Board member of PAA Chicago affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), and Jitu Brown, national director of Journey 4 Justice (middle row, third from the left).

What can you do to support the Dyett hunger strikers?

Even if you're not in Chicago to help out, you can still like the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology Facebook Page here, read their excellent school transformation proposal here, and donate to the hunger strike (via its sponsoring organization, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization) here.

Is the end of NCLB in sight?

Meanwhile, a Congressional conference committee has formed to hash out differences between the House and Senate revisions to the No Child Left Behind Act. Chances are that an agreement will be reached soon.

Will the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) be an improvement over NCLB? Yes, most definitely. The ridiculous and damaging Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) rules are out, and federal law will not require that teacher evaluations be tied to test scores or that districts impose a limited set of school intervention or privatization schemes.

But a federal requirement for annual assessments will most likely remain, and lots of taxpayer money will continue to flow to the  expansion of privatization - e.g. for more charter schools, groups like Teach for America, and online learning.

Congress is out until after Labor Day, so it's still a great time to reach out to your Senators and Congresspeople about ESEA reauthorization. Call, or better yet, make a personal visit to your federal legislators' home offices to talk to them about ESEA. Leave a copy of PAA's priority positions for ESEA and/or our general position paper on ESEA: What Parents Value and How Congress Should Act and, share a personal story about how ESEA affects your child, your school, or your community.

PAA News

Good news from Oregon SOS

Check out the newsletter from our Portland OR affiliate, Oregon Save Our Schools, which reports on the election of two of their members to local school boards, 2000 opt outs, and a victory in the disbanding of the Oregon Education Investment Board, a small business-oriented group which had been given significant control over school finances and programs.    

PAA leader speaks out in Atlanta

Kimberly Brooks, leader of PAA-Atlanta Public Schools, has been organizing parents to oppose a new proposal for the Georgia's governor to take over the Atlanta schools by creating New Orleans-style "Opportunity Districts."

Kim was recently quoted on the local NPR radio affiliate station: 

The governor's proposal appears on next November's ballot, so it's up to voters - not the school board - to decide whether the state can take control of underperforming schools.

But many, like parent Kimberly Brooks, challenged the board to take a stand anyway. "If you cannot take a position, maybe you do not need to be here and maybe you need to be replaced," she said. 

And now that the kids are back in school... can watch some or all of our PAA Week videos!

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