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Helen won!!! PAA founding member Helen Gym won her race for Philadelphia City Councilwoman! More below.

And we're going to ask you (or ask you to ask your kids) to send us a test stress meme! 

 Post your kids' test stress memes on our Facebook page! 

Parents, ask your kids to create a quick meme* like the ones above! It is time for the voices of students to be heard. Ask your children what they think of standardized testing and share it on our Facebook page, and your own! It's quick, easy, and makes a statement about this important issue.

We want student voices to go viral!

*What's a meme? Read more here! There are many free meme apps - look here for some good choices to download! 

Bad news for corporate reform... more fodder for ESEA reform

The news was so bad last week for privatizers and the testing industry that we had to make sure our representatives in Congress didn't miss any of it as they move to finalize ESEA. Thanks to Jeff Bryant of the Educational Opportunity Network for pulling these six news items all together in one place for us: 

On charter schools:
  • The Center for Media and Democracy reported that more than $3.7 billion in federal funding has been poured into charter schools with virtually no accountability
  • An Education Week report on online charter schools found that their students "make dramatically less academic progress than their counterparts in traditional schools."
  • The heavily-touted "Success Academy" charter schools franchise was caught  by the New York Times systematically pushing out unwanted students, including a high suspension rate of kindergarteners.
On testing:
  • Notably, President Obama issued a a "mea culpa" on overtesting in the nation's schools.
  • NAEP scores were out and showed some of the most significant downturns in decades, including continued large achievement gaps between poor and affluent children. 
  • A study by Education Week found too many tests that are "redundant...misaligned.. and don't address students' mastery of specific content.
What can you do?

We shared these stories by fax with the full Congress. You can cut and paste it from here or download a pdf letter to email to your own Senators and Congresspersons:

Did you miss our charter school ruling webinar?
If you missed our Oct. 25 webinar on the Washington State Supreme Court ruling that charter school funding in the state is unconstitutional, you can watch the 45-minute video here and review the full slide show presentation here

More about the webinar on our blog

Helen won!   
PAA founding member Helen Gym won her election yesterday for a spot on Philadelphia's City Council. Here's her statement

"Today, the voters have spoken. I am humbled and proud to enter office with a vote of confidence from a diverse coalition of Philadelphians from every neighborhood, big and small, and to those nationwide who paid attention to and supported this race. My campaign finished how it started, as a grassroots movement for change, knocking on 6,000 doors, making 27,000 phone calls and raising more money through small donations than any Council or Mayoral candidate during the primary.

Everywhere I went in this campaign, voters demanded a City Council that focused on public education and a growing, sustainable economy for all Philadelphians, especially our most vulnerable. Those voices were heard.

These communities that carried me on their shoulders to victory will be walking through the doors of City Hall with me in January. Our work has only just begun."

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran this quote from Helen:
"Many of us have a lot of experience in the legislative world, and some of us like myself are newer to it," said Gym, an activist elected with strong backing from the city's teachers' union. "But I think we come in with the spirit and reputation of being able to get things done. And I don't see that changing once we get into City Council."

Congratulations, Helen! You have made us proud! 

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! 
If you have questions, comments, suggestions or stories to share, please e-mail us at or

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