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Diane Ravitch calls author P. L. Thomas "the conscience of American education. He is our North Star." We're very excited that Dr. Thomas will be the special guest for our first book club session on March 29, and we'll be discussing his newest book. Details below! 

PAA Book Club
Sign up for PAA's new
online book club!

For some time, PAA has been having our own discussions about poverty, race and educational opportunity. We've gathered a lot of very important facts and research, created some useful materials, and shared them in webinars and workshops (including an upcoming session at NPE in Raleigh).

We'd like more people to join us in this important conversation, and we thought that an online book club might be a good way to do that.

Much of the information we've been collecting has come from Dr. P. L. Thomas, a professor at Fordham University whose work was first brought to our attention by PAA Board member Nate Harris in a workshop Nate presented at our 2013 annual meeting. Dr. Thomas is a well-respected, prolific blogger and author on topics of schools and social justice.

Since then, Dr. Thomas has become a mentor to PAA, helping us define the impact of poverty, race and cultural bias on students' education opportunity.

Diane Ravitch calls P. L. Thomas "the conscience of American education. He is our North Star."   

So, of course, the first book we've selected for our book club is Dr. Thomas' newest book, "Beware the Roadbuilders: Literature as Resistance." Dr. Thomas will be joining us for this session.

First book club date:
Tuesday, March 29 at 8 pm ET
Register here! 

We're going to use Eventbrite for book club registration and the Zoom meeting program for the book club itself.

Once you register for this session via Eventbrite, we will send you the log-in information for the Zoom meeting. 

You will need to download the free Zoom program at

Buy the book!

Of course, to get the most out of the book club, you have to read the book! You can try your local library for a free copy or you can just buy the book. All Garn Press ebooks are 50% off this month, and that includes "Roadbuilders," which is going for $4.95 on Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle, you can get a free app from Amazon to read a Kindle book on your phone or tablet.

About the book:

"The central image and warning of the book - "beware the roadbuilders" - is drawn from Alice Walker's The Color Purple. The book presents a compelling argument that billionaires, politicians, and self-professed education reformers are doing more harm than good-despite t their public messages. The public and our students are being crushed beneath their reforms.

"In the wake of Ferguson and the growing list of sacrificed young black men - Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner - the essays in this book gain an even wider resonance, seeking to examine both the larger world of inequity as well as the continued failure of educational inequity."

Read more about the book here. 

Hope you can join us on the journey.

More important events for your calendar!

NPE in Raleigh April 16-17

Time is running out to get the best registration and hotel prices for the Network for Public Education national conference in Raleigh, NC.  PAA will present a workshop that you won't want to miss, and there will be amazing speakers and events including Moral Mondays founder Rev. William Barber, PAA favorites Jesse Hagopian and Karran Harper Royal, and, of course, Diane.

FairTest alternatives to testing webinar March 6

If not high-stakes testing for accountability, then what?

Get some answers by registering here for the NY Performance Standards Consortium - Assessment Best Practices Webinar on Mar 6, 2016, 8:00 PM EST at: 
This webinar with Ann Cook, Phyllis Tashlik and colleagues will explain what the innovative, highly successful Consortium is; what their performance assessments are; how they relate to curriculum, instruction and school structure and climate; and the outcomes. There will be opportunity to ask questions and discuss how the Consortium can be used as a model.  

The new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, the replacement for NCLB) will allow states to implement "innovative" assessments. And teachers across the nation are looking to engage in project-based learning and performance assessments. For both, the Consortium can provide a valuable example.

PAA in Philly July 18-20

Hold the date! Details about accommodations and programs are in the works!   

From our Boston affiliate QUEST:

QUEST has been part of the organizing group for the Feb. 17 national walk-in and rally for public education. In Boston, we face $50 million in budget cuts this year, with over $140 million cut in the last three years.  It's  school vacation week, and parents, students, teachers and community members are marching on City Hall and the State House to show our support for public education and demand fully funded, equitable public education for all students.

Many other PAAers are out today supporting the national walk-in.

Oooh, you got me!
PAA President exposes Gates end-run
around WA Supreme Court

PAA President and leader of PAA-Puget Sound Dora Taylor has uncovered a stealth plan by Bill Gates, the Washington state schools superintendent, and local charter school groups to defy the recent state Supreme Court ruling barring state funding of charter schools by laundering money through a public school district ostensibly acting as oversight body.

Dora discovered this scheme from emails she requested under public records laws.

You can read the whole story on Dora's blog, Seattle Education, and find out just how far above the law Bill Gates thinks he is....

PAA executive director testifies to  
Nevada legislature on LSC model

PAA's interim executive director Julie Woestehoff  spoke via teleconference to a legislative committee of the Nevada legislature today about the local school council model; the state is considering ways to increased the participation of parents and community members in its largest school district in Las Vegas.

PAA has taken a position in favor of Chicago's LSC model of parent empowerment, as opposed to the "empowerment" of school choice and privatization that corporate reform has invented.

The members were very interested in Julie's powerpoint presentation and asked a lot of thoughtful questions. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do.  

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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