PAA Action News
Sept.12 , 2015

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PAA Action Alert

Education is hot news!

Usually the media recognizes the beginning of the school year with a few lightweight education stories that rarely touch on anything very meaningful, but this year they have been forced to address some of
the most compelling issues facing our schools and
communities, thanks to the Dyett hunger strike, the major court ruling on charter schools in Washington State, the Seattle teachers' strike, and the possible final reauthorization of ESEA, among other big stories.

Dyett Update: Our friends in Chicago are in their 26th day of their hunger strike in support of the community's proposal to keep open their local high school. Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to do an end run around them by agreeing to keep the school open but with his plan, not theirs. So, the strike continues. They report that they are in talks with the district. Good luck to them!

PAA participated in a #FightForDyett Twitter storm this past Tuesday, and we have signed on to a national letter to Mayor Emanuel supporting the hunger strikers' Global Leadership and Green Technology High School proposal.   

You can "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.

NCLB/ESEA reauthorization   

Congress is back in session, but we haven't heard anything about when they will get down to work reconciling the differences between the House and Senate education bills.

PAA sent this fax letter to every member of Congress today. We thanked them for recognizing the many problems with the No Child Left Behind Act, and moving to fix some of them. We also urged them to come together on a compromise bill that decreased the amount of testing and money for charter schools and other privatization, while strengthening provisions that parents support such as protecting student privacy, supporting an experienced, professional teaching force, and strengthening parent voices in education policy making.

Here's a pdf version of the fax which you can download, print out and send to your own Congresspeople. 

Landmark Washington State Supreme Court
Charter School decision

Diane Ravitch praised PAA in her blog for saying years ago that state funding for charter schools in Washington is unconstitutional.

National PAA can't take the credit - that belongs to PAA founding members Sue Peters and Dora Taylor, who put together the prescient post in December of 2012, and their fellow activists in PAA chapters in Washington, along with many others who are named on or who supported the lawsuit.

The decision pointed out that schools can only be funded in Washington State if they are "common schools," and common schools must be governed by elected school boards accountable to their communities.

As we know, charter schools are privately run and not directly accountable to the community, and at least in Washington that makes a difference.

We hope to present a webinar soon on how Dora, Sue and others put this amazing win together - watch this space! Meanwhile, why not take a look at your own state constitution and compare its language with Washington's. Read Dora's blogs here and here for more ideas.

Seattle teachers' strike not just about $$

Seattle teachers began a strike on September 7 to win, among other things, guaranteed recess, less testing, and fairer discipline procedures. Stay tuned!

Other News You Can Use

Resources around the US
  • United Opt Out annual conference: UOO has another great lineup for its February conference in Philadelphia.
  • Network for Public Education has also announced its annual conference dates: April 15-17 in Raleigh, NC.
  • Take some time to listen to this powerful report from NPR's Ira Glass on This American Life called "The Problem We All Live With." The story focuses on the one thing that really works in schools - integration - and how "reformers" will try anything else.

 (Thanks to PAA Board member Deb Mayer for these suggestions!)  

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 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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