PAA Action News
Sept. 24, 2015

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PAA Action Alert

PAA president
Dora Taylor named
a 2015 Progressive Education Fellow!

We are very proud of our President, Dora Taylor, founder of PAA-Puget Sound (formerly PAA-Seattle), who was recently named a Progressive Education Fellow
byThe Progressive magazine as part of their "Public School Shakedown" project.

Dora joins other well-known activist-writers including Jesse Hagopian, Julian Vasquez-Heilig, Sabrina Stevens, and Xian Barrett.

Please check out and share their web home, follow them on Twitter -- @Progressive4Ed -- and join the discussion!

Here's more from The Progressive:

"Introducing the 2015 'Progressive Education Fellows,' an online gathering of prominent advocates, activists, thinkers, and writers in the progressive education movement. Throughout 2015 we'll be posting submissions from them on all things public education and democracy.

"A fundamental struggle for democracy is going on behind the scenes in statehouses around the country, as a handful of wealthy individuals and foundations pour money into efforts to privatize the public schools.

"The Progressive launched Public School Shakedown in September 2013 to pull back the curtain and reveal what is at stake-to follow the money and expose the privatizers-but also to celebrate the resistance and the hard work of people on the front lines of public education. Our goal is for all parents, teachers, and concerned citizens to understand what is going on and connect with each other to stick up for schools.

"The Fellows come together at a critical time for public education in the United States. Not since the Civil-Rights-era battles over school desegregation has the debate about public education been so intense and polarized. The Fellows come from every region of the country, and from diverse backgrounds with a wide range of expertise. They are teachers, administrators, journalists, parent activists, and leaders of the movement to defend public schools.

Updates on recent news stories

 Seattle: A new post by Progressive Education Fellow Jesse Hagopian describes why Seattle teachers went on strike for - and won - guaranteed recess for students.

Jesse reports: 

"A study came out in Seattle that showed that dozens of schools have less than 15 minutes of recess, and where was this happening? It was in schools concentrated among neighborhoods that serve predominantly low-income students and students of color because, they said, we have to raise the test scores so those kids don't get to play.  Those kids don't get to have the benefit of the emotional and social development that you get when you solve problems on the playground together with your peers rather than sitting inside and filling in bubbles and eliminating wrong-answer questions all day long."

Chicago: The Dyett Hunger Strike ended after 34 days and a major concession by the city to keep the high school open as an open enrollment school, but with a mayor-selected group of "experts" planning the school's curriculum and programs.

It's this kind of disrespect for and refusal to listen to the real experts - the parents, students, community members, and their ally educators - that has taken public education in the US so far down the wrong road.

The spirit of the Dyett Hunger Strike lives on in the will of the community to fight and win the school their children deserve. 
PAA News

Padres con Poder!
PAA affiliate HispanEduca announces first annual parent conference

The First Parents with Power Congress is set for Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the university Ana G. Méndez, located in the 5601st of Semoran Blvd. South, Orlando, Florida.

Lourdes Perez Ramirez, founder of PAA Florida affiliate HispanEduca, shares this exciting event with us and invites anyone in the Orlando area to attend:

"Parents, if you have children in grades from pre-kinder to level 12 of high school,  you qualify for free attendance at the three workshops that will be offered in the Congress. Come early to enroll in the workshops and receive a certificate of attendance from HispanEduca!

Parents, claim your power!

If you have a child with a disability,
you will learn that you have the power in your hands to ensure that your children will receive the services to which they are entitled.


1. The law and the rights for disabled students;
2. That no one can limit your rights as a parent and the rights of your children;
3. How to claim the power that parents have by knowing the law;
4. How to claim your rights;
5. How to achieve this in a way that does not ignore your claims.

Join the first Congress of Parents with Power!

Organized by HispanEduca.

Where: Dynamics, Ana G. Mendez, 5601 Semoran Blvd. S., Orlando, FL
When: 10 October 2015, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Why?: Because if you don't know how to claim your power, you may not know how to defend your rights and the rights of your children.

For further information, please write to

School uniform controversy

Kimberly Brooks, leader of PAA chapter PAA-Atlanta Public Schools, wrote an article describing her recent experience with the district's school uniform policy.

She describes the detention her daughter served for a uniform infraction, and how she discovered that Atlanta's majority black schools are more likely to have uniform policies than majority white schools.
Her concerns were echoed by John Harris Loflin, a leader of PAA's Indianapolis affiliate Parent Power. John shared with our leadership a research paper he wrote in 2007 on uniform policy, in which he concluded that there is no research support for instituting a uniform policy.

John added, "Last night I reviewed the information on school uniforms on the Internet. As was the case in '07, I found no research supporting school uniforms. There is lots of anecdotal evidence, 'Billy's wearing a school uniform. Now, he cleans his room every night!'-but, no research. None."

Other PAA leaders have made the same observation as Kimberly - that uniform codes are most often imposed in schools in communities of color. But others shared more positive experiences with uniform codes, and some reasons for having them.

What do you think?

Other notable news

PAA-Greensboro leader Khem Irby reports that her Guilford County school district will be paying full tuition for all district graduates students accepted to college thanks a new partnership with the Say YES National Foundation. 

The district announced its intention "to work alongside parents, community organizations, nonprofits and lawmakers to determine additional barriers keeping our students from achieving success in higher education and to focus existing services to breakdown those barriers. Most of the resources we need are already available in the community, and we will work together to make sure those services are reaching the students who need them the most."

Khem will be keeping us posted on the progress of this initiative!

More Broad interference

Khem also called our attention to the Broad Foundation's latest plan to push the privatization of hundreds of public schools: 

According to a 44-page memorandum obtained by the (LA) Times, the Great Public Schools Now Initiative aims to create two hundred and sixty high-quality charter schools, generate a hundred and thirty thousand charter seats, and increase charter schools' share of LAUSD students to 50 percent by 2023. To that end, the memo outlines a campaign to build new school facilities, increase the supply of effective teachers and school leaders, and boost popular and political support for "the transformation of K-12 education." LAUSD's charter school program, which accounts for about 16 percent of total public school enrollment, already is the largest in the country.

LA, we're here to help! And we'll be watching for the newest propaganda campaign...

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

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