Website     About PAA     What We Believe     News Room      Gift Store

We've been offline for a while, but our members have been very active across the nation, even stepping up to run for elected office. Not everyone is in place where they can do that, but this is one of the most powerful things a parent can do to support public education. Read more below to find out what parents can do!

PAA leaders walking the walk in 2016

Several PAA leaders have been stepping up to the plate of public service lately, and we are SO proud!
  • PAA founding member Helen Gym has already taken office as councilwoman-at-large in Philadelphia.
Helen on the right, new Mayor Jim Kenney on the left
Helen ran on a platform of support for well-funded, democratically-run public schools.

Can't wait to see what she does! 

  • Former PAA Board of Directors member
    Dawn Collins is running for school board in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with this platform:
    • I support the expansion of sensible, research-based reforms that empower students, families and teachers.
    • We must incentivize the placement of highly qualified, experienced educators - especially in our most challenging classrooms.
    • All of our public schools should be diverse with well-rounded curriculum that challenge and engage our children while providing meaningful options to families - one-size-fits-all education does not work for our children.
    • I support meaningful parental involvement, empowering parents as partners in education.
    • We must adequately fund schools so they have the resources to succeed.
Dawn will be running in a special election on March 5, 2016, with early voting starting Feb. 20. 

Khem Irby
  • Current PAA Board member Khem Irby is running for school board in Greensboro, North Carolina for a seat on the District 2 Guilford County School Board.
There's a proud history of PAA leaders running for office, beginning with PAA founding member Sue Peters, who won her Seattle school board seat in 2013 and has been making a significant difference ever since.   

Why not make a late New Year's resolution to consider walking the walk in 2016 or beyond? These PAA leaders are all public school parents -  If they can do it, you can, too!

PAA does not endorse specific candidates due to our non-profit status. However, we do inform our readership about the activities of our leaders and share motivating and inspiring stories about parents like Helen, Dawn and Khem.

Register for NPE 2016

While you're thinking about that, please take a moment to register for the April 16-17 Network for Public Education conference in Raleigh, NC. Hope to see you there!


New PAA chapters/affiliates

We're excited to welcome three new West Coast partners in the fight for strong public schools:
  • New chapter PAA-Oregon, a new statewide network
  • New chapter PAA-Marin (California)
  • New affiliate Portland Parent Union
The Portland Parent Union is a long-standing group that organizes parents and families to connect to the resources and supports necessary to be powerful advocates for their children and all of Portland's Children. "We encourage parent leadership. This is a parent led effort and we believe when parents exercise their power the outcomes for children will be positive.... We trust that by empowering and collecting our voices we will be a force for Social Justice Equity and progress in our communities."

We are excited to be working with all of these groups and look forward to supporting them and sharing their concerns and successes!

Laura Bowman speaking at a recent press conference
PAA-Roanoke Valley leader cautions against charter school expansion

Laura Bowman, leader of PAA-Roanoke Valley in Virginia, recently published an excellent essay in the Roanoke Times which was picked up by other news organizations, and resulted in an invitation from the Fairfax Education Association to testify with them at the General Assembly and participate in a press conference. 
Laura wrote,

There is a reason for the proliferation of charter schools in this country, and it has little to do with the education and well-being of children, and much to do with lining the pockets of for-profit charter school companies. Our tax dollars, meant for public education and the common good, should not go into these pockets, and should stay invested in our neighborhood public schools.

...Rapidly increasing the quantity of charter schools is not a proven education reform, and as we've seen in other states, can lead to lack of accountability, transparency and quality.

...Our localities should have the right to approve or disapprove the establishment of charter schools in our communities, either through direct vote or through our school boards or other elected bodies.

...Public schools are the backbone of our democracy in America. They open their doors each day and take all children in, and educate and nurture them. Our Virginia public schools already practice innovation and promote critical thinking. There is no reasonable rationale for using taxpayer funds to build more charter schools when the more prudent thing to do is to support, and fully and fairly fund, our existing neighborhood schools.


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

Looking for regular updates on key education stories? Join the PAA News List by e-mailing


Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube