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We've prepared a one-page fact sheet for you to share with any state legislators who still think it's a good idea to use student test scores to judge teachers. Tell them it's a dangerous idea, and federal law doesn't require it anymore! 


STOP VAM and other test-based

teacher evaluation in 2016!

One positive aspect of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced ESEA last December, is that it does NOT require states to include test scores in teacher evaluation.

Of course, due to the high-pressure tactics of Arne Duncan's Department of Education, and the bribes/incentives of Race to the Top money and ESEA waivers, lots of states went ahead and created or are still in the process of creating test-based teacher accountability systems anyway.

Your state legislators may not be aware that Washington has given the power back to them to decide how to evaluate teachers. They may also not be aware of the many dangers of test-based teacher evaluation, including value added measurements (VAM) which test makers and others have managed to convince many policy makers are the magic bullet.

PAA has prepared a one-page fact sheet on the states' new opportunity/responsibility to create a high-quality system without the drawbacks of VAM or other test-dependent policies. Please share it with your state house and senate education committee leaders and your own rep today. 

PAA affiliate Parents United
in Philadelphia
 helps turn back
a charter takeover plan

Parents in Philadelphia were able to stop the conversion of a public neighborhood school into a charter school, with the help of PAA-affiliate Parents United for Public Education.

As reported in The Notebook, parents stood up for a neighborhood school with stable leadership, a principal who had stayed with the school for 14 years, a community approach to learning, and a dedication to literacy and enrichment despite the budget cuts from Harrisburg for the last four years.

"For the last two months, Parents United for Public Education has worked with the school communities of Wister as well as Huey and Cooke Elementary Schools to define what it means to have a parent voice and a public process around school reform.

"We want meaningful investment in our school communities and a public process of engagement in school turnaround that doesn't just reduce parent participation to picking the least worst option.

"One thing is for sure: Parents are consistently choosing public education over charter takeovers. The parents at Wister, like those at Steel and Muñoz-Marín before them, have refused to buy into the District's rhetoric of failing teachers, failing children, and failing parents that result in their schools being targeted for privatization. John Wister is added to the growing list of school communities that are fighting back against privatization and demanding more parent voice and choice in the decision-making processes to support public schools."

Todd Marrone art
PAA-Suburban Philadelphia
to host
 screening of
"Defies Measurement"

The Villanova Department of Education and Counseling & Parents Across America, Suburban Philadelphia are hosting a screening of the documentary, "Defies Measurement," which features a local parent, and the education chairperson of the Pennsylvania NAACP.

There will be a panel discussion and Q&A, featuring two PAA parents/teachers, the Chairperson of the Villanova Department of Education and Counseling, parents from multiple school districts, a United Opt Out Leader, and an 8th grade student who wrote a poem about how he got his parents to opt him out of the state tests back in 5th grade!

We are hoping to help parents l
earn how the high-stakes testing culture has compromised our public schools and interfered with the real work that needs to be done in classrooms.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Villanova University,
The Connelly Cinema
7pm - 9:30pm

Boston parents face the cold to protest
proposed school budget cuts

PAA's Boston affiliate QUEST began 2016 taking action against a proposed $50 million cut to Boston Public Schools and a pro-charter ballot initiative. On Jan. 14, QUEST parents led large and small group panels at a town hall meeting on education sponsored by the Boston Education Justice Alliance.

 Universal Hub reported on this meeting, quoting QUEST member Megan Wolf:

"Megan Wolf of the parent group Quality for Every Student said city plans to merge the application systems of local public and charter schools could hasten a BPS death spiral.

"Charter schools will look more attractive to parents because they have higher test scores, and that will mean increased enrollment at those schools. But the test scores don't necessarily mean the schools are better, just that charter schools can game the system to some degree by either rejecting students who might score lower on standardized tests because they come to Boston in the middle of the school year and can use disciplinary practices that can be used to push out students, who then return to BPS - which not only has to take them, but which also has more students who need more help, because they have special education needs, are not native English speakers or are homeless, she said.

"She added that the Boston Compact, which is drawing up the proposal, is not subject to public-meeting or records laws - and is funded by the pro-charter Gates Foundation."

And on Jan. 19, Boston parents stood in the freezing cold outside of the State of the City address to protest the Mayor's lack of support for public education.

According to, "The protesters also demanded that Walsh invest in fully resourced public schools with individualized services for children with special needs, and to work with students, families, educators and community members to fully audit the public school budget in order to assess community needs and address inequalities. They're also calling for democratically controlled public schools through an elected Boston School Committee. (Under the current system, the mayor appoints the seven members to serve four-year staggered terms)."

The Bay State Banner also covered the protest.

Bats for PAA-Roanoke Valley leader

Three cheers for Laura Bowman, leader of PAA-Roanoke Vallye (VA) who was recently honored by the Badass Teachers' Association:



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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