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Dear (Contact First Name),

It's been another action-packed year for PAA. We've done a lot - pushed for a better ESEA, exposed more of corporate reform's damage including growing text stress in children, offered five webinars in a row celebrating PAA week, and more -- all while growing as an organization.

Nearly every week this newsletter offers a way for you to take positive action in support of public education. This week we're asking you to help us keep up the momentum for a stronger parent voice in school policies by taking a moment to donate to PAA. Thanks!


Give thanks for PAA!

Our Action of the Week this week is a request for your financial support. 

Please consider making a donation of any size through our home page DONATE button ("Help Keep Us Running!"). Contributions to PAA are tax-deductible.

If you are not comfortable using the Donate button, you can mail donations to Parents Across America, c/o Siegel and Assoc., 53 W. Jackson Blvd, Suite 405, Chicago IL 60604.

We operate on a shoestring now; most of our work is done by volunteers. That's wonderful, but we're ready to do more in 2016 and we need resources to do that. We are busy submitting funding proposals, but the best kind of financial support comes from the people who know and appreciate us.

Why donate to PAA?

Because we are the only national parent network that has taken a strong, vocal stand against the systems that seek to destroy democratic public schools!

For example:
  • We have shared hard, disturbing data with parents about the impact of poverty, race, and cultural bias on educational opportunity (watch for our quarterly book club and discussion sessions in 2016 as we work toward solutions).
  • Our groundbreaking research has found links between the misuse and overuse of standardized tests and increased student test anxiety.
By developing fact sheets and position papers on issues of critical importance to public school parents, we are forging a united parent voice. Through our media, social networking, legislative, and other advocacy efforts, we are making sure that that our  unified voice is heard across the U.S.

Read some of the stories below to get a taste of what our wonderful, active chapters and affiliates are doing around the U.S. We can't take credit for their work, but by sharing these success stories and challenges across our national network, we are helping parents help each other.

PAA chapters and affiliates 
What's coming up in 2016? 
We're planning our annual conference back in Washington, DC, from July 18-20, 2016 (save the date!) and working on a list of corporate sponsors (yes, PAA-approved businesses!). We're starting our own list of who's naughty and who's nice....
We have many other plans for taking on the powers that be and strengthen our public schools - we just need a little fuel for the jet-pack!    
Please consider donating to PAA today. 
Thank you! 

PAA affiliate New Jersey SOS
celebrates two bills limiting testing

Julia Sass-Rubin, leader of Save Our Schools New Jersey, reports that NJ Governor Chris Christie signed two of their bills - one to limit standardized testing before 3rd grade and a second one to prohibit the state from withholding funding from districts with high test refusal rates.

Thousands of NJ parents refused to let their children take the PARCC exams last spring, with refusal rates ranging from 4 to 15 percent depending on the grade level. 

Here's what SOS-NJ sent to their 3000 members:


Today, (Monday, November 9th) Governor Christie signed into law two bills to constrain standardized testing.
  • A4485/S2881 prohibits the NJ Department of Education from withholding state aid from school districts with high PARCC refusal rates.
  • A3079/S2766 limits the uses of standardized tests in grades K-2 to identifying particular student learning needs (such as special services) or to modifying instructional strategies to improve an individual student's learning. Standardized tests can no longer be used to prepare K-2nd graders for the high-stakes standardized testing that begins in 3rd grade.
Thank you for asking your legislators to support these bills!

NJ parents testify

FairTest report on the grassroots anti-testing movement

You can read more about how SOS-NJ and many other groups have successfully opposed high-stakes standardized testing in a new report by FairTest.

QUEST member uncovers plan to close, charterize many Boston schools

PAA Boston MA affiliate QUEST
(Quality Education for Every Student) is fighting a proposal, developed without any parent or stakeholder input, to add charters to the Boston Public Schools student assignment plan.

Read all about it and what QUEST discovered via a public records request in QUEST parent Mary Lewis-Pierce's blog, which was picked up by Diane Ravitch and columnist Charlie Pierce.

Mary's FOIA request uncovered a plan to reduce the number of Boston Public School buildings from 126 to 90 suggesting a plan for major school closure, consolidation, and privatization. Boston Mayor Tom Walsh, whose mayoral campaign position opposed school privatization, is now accused of a bait and switch       
Speakers at Parent Power conference 2013
(John Harris Loflin second from left, back row)
   Indiana Parent Power to sponsor presentation
on involving
bi-cultural parents in schools  

Leader of PAA Indianapolis affiliate Parent Power, John Harris Loflin, shared a press release announcing an important discussion on parent-school relationships with an emphasis on the relationship between schools and bicultural (linguistically and/or culturally diverse) parents. The forum is co-sponsored by Parent Power and PAA.

According to the press release:

"The Black & Latino Policy Institute ( will present a conversation around "Parents and teachers and their public schools" with Dr. Edward M. Olivos.

The event will be held at 37 Place Community Center (2605 East 25th Street Indianapolis 46218) on Thursday November 19 from 6:00-7:30 with registration, networking, and pizza from 5:00-6:00.

Former elementary teacher Edward M. Olivos is associate professor at the School of Education at the University of Oregon. Professor Olivos specializes in parent involvement as well as English as a Second Language education.


Although his research focuses on the relationship between bicultural (linguistically and/or culturally diverse) parents and schools, and the development of bilingual educators, his ideas apply to any and all school-parent relationships.

He is the author of The Power of Parents: A Critical Perspective of Bicultural Parent Involvement in Public Schools and Bicultural Parent Engagement: Advocacy and Empowerment.
Read more here.

Watch PAA President Dora Taylor on panel 
with Wayne Au and Jesse Hagopian (click above)

Dora shared this great video of her panel, "Testing, Charters and Strikes, Oh My!" at the Northwest Conference on Teaching for Social Justice in Seattle last month.

Dora also shared her first article for the Progressive as part of their "Public School Shakedown" project. Here excellent article addresses the recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling that charter schools violates the state constitution.    

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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