PAA Action News
Oct. 1, 2015

Welcome to PAA Action News, the information and action newsletter of Parents Across America.
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PAA Action Alert

Charter schools declared
unconstitutional in Washington State!
Join the PAA webinar 
on Oct. 25 to find out
how they did it!

Join PAA in a webinar on the afternoon of Sunday, October 25 (exact time TBA) to learn how local advocates, including PAA-Puget Sound, put together a winning legal argument against the public funding of charter schools in their state.

PAA President Dora Taylor, a key figure in this fight, will moderate the panel. She will be joined by Dr. Wayne Au, lead plaintiff in the court case. Dr. Au is an associate professor of education at the University of Washington, a member of the Rethinking Schools editorial board, and author of "Unequal by design: High-stakes testing and the standardization of inequality."

Also on the panel will be an attorney in the case and a representative from the Seattle League of Women Voters, which was also a plaintiff.

Stay tuned for the exact time and the link to join this very important discussion.

PAA News

Model letter on testing
from parents to schools   

Leader of PAA-Roanoke Valley, Laura Bowman, shared the following model letter on testing which the chapter created for parents to submit to their superintendents as part of the #ParentStrike action on September 17.

The letter asks school officials to "justify the resources, including time and money, being spent in your school district, on standardized testing."

We've posted the letter on our blog. Please use and share.   

Atlanta Public Schools and OSD

PAA-Atlanta leader Kimberly Brooks has written this excellent piece on the school takeover efforts in Atlanta:

The "Opportunity" School District (OSD) is scheduled to be on the November ballot for citizens to allow the Governor's office to decide the fate of failing schools.... What does this mean? It means that the governor's office will have authority over the school district if the schools continue to fail.
  • It is a fact that most schools eligible for takeover are majority African American schools and participate in free or reduced lunch programs.
  • It is a fact that the originator of OSD will be paid to advise Atlanta Public Schools of how to turn the schools around.
  • It is a fact that none of the leaders in the Governor's office has proven effective expertise in education.
  • It is a fact that if his office is allowed to take over school districts that parents, students and teachers will have no voice.
This proposal challenges the democratic concept on every level. Instead of our board opposing it, they are preparing for it, leaving thousands of kids without a voice to be victims in addition to the thousands already victims of Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. It is time to say enough is enough. Board members need to stand or move.

Video Clip of Kimberly (PAA Atlanta Chapter Leader) Challenging the Board
Check out the Atlanta Board of Education's Town Hall Meeting on How to Address Failing Schools: While Failing to Oppose the Process Altogether

PAA President on panel
at NW Teaching for Social Justice
Conference in Seattle Oct. 17

Educators, students and parents are invited to attend the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference October 17, 2015

"We Still Need to Trouble the Water:
Race, Revolution and the Struggle
for Quality Education"

8AM to 4:30PM
Chief Sealth High School, Seattle

Wayne Au, Jesse Hagopian and PAA President Dora Taylor will be hosting a workshop titled:

Testing, Charters, and Strikes, Oh My! : Resisting Corporate Education Reform in Seattle and Beyond:

The Seattle area has been a hotbed of education activism in recent months, including significant victories in the defense of democracy and public education. In this panel discussion and conversation, local education activists Dora Taylor, Jesse Hagopian, and Wayne Au will talk about the local movement to opt out of high-stakes testing, the political gains earned during the Seattle educators' strike, and the recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling declaring charter schools unconstitutional here. Local strategies as well as implications and nation connections will be discussed.

Other Workshops:
A Human Face on War: Poetry and Art
Prison Labor Cycle: Players in a System
Building an Opt-Out Movement in Your Community
Black Students' Lives Matter
Educating Activist Allies

OVER 60 Workshops in three different sessions
Register online at

Hosted by: Puget Sound Rethinking Schools, Portland Area Rethinking Schools, Social Equality Educators, Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College, and Rethinking Schools magazine

From Dora: "I have found these conferences to be not only full of relevant information but also energizing and uplifting. It is a highly recommended event."

Don't forget the First Parents with Power
Congress set for Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm in Orlando

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!  

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

Excellent blog post from opting out parent

Danielle Arnold-Schwartz, leader of PAA-Suburban Philadelphia, shared the excellent blog post she wrote after receiving the "results" report from the tests her daughter did not take. The report included this section:

In order to be allowed to opt her daughter out, the state of Pennsylvania required Danielle to review the test itself. Danielle reports: "I read the 6th grade test last year. It is not 'rigorous,' unless you use the actual dictionary definition of rigor: the difficult and unpleasant conditions or experiences that are associated with something....If test writers hired by the state wanted to stress kids out and artificially lower test scores, they created the perfect test."
Danielle added, "I share the documents sent home by the state and the letter from our PA Secretary of Education. My hope is that other parents will preview the tests and see what they think. Once parents see the tests, I imagine they will be more interested in learning about opting out. As we never get to vote on education 'reforms,' many believe that the best way parents can make our voices heard is opting out as an act of civil disobedience."

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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