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PAA Book Club

Looking for a safe place to discuss issues of race, poverty and education? Want to meet the author Diane Ravitch calls the "conscience of American education?" Interested in joining a group of like-minded people online for an hour or so of inspiring conversation?

Join the PAA Book Club! You can still register for this event featuring P.L. Thomas and his newest book, "Beware the Roadbuilders." Details below.

Last call for the PAA Book Club!

We're excited about our first online book club session which is coming up next Tuesday, March 29 at 8 PM ET, 5 PM PT. Our guest author is P. L. Thomas, a professor at Furman University who blogs at the becoming radical.

You can still register for the session here.  We are using Zoom as our online meeting platform. Details about how to join are here.

We'll be discussing Dr. Thomas's newest book, "Beware the Roadbuilders: Literature as Resistance."

We plan to host a book club session about once a quarter. If you register for this session but can't attend, you will still be on the list to receive announcements of upcoming sessions. 

Read more about the background of PAA's book club here.

More about the book:

Beware the Roadbuilders: Literature as Resistance was born out of blogging as an act of social justice. Over a period of about two years, many posts built the case against market-based education reform and for a critical re-imagining of public education. This book presents a coordinated series of essays based on that work, using a wide range of written and visual texts to call for the universal public education we have failed to achieve.

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 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. While each chapter stands as a separate reading, the book as a whole produces a cohesive theme and argument about the power of critical literacy to read and re-read the world, and to write and re-rewrite the world (Paulo Freire).

Thursday, March 24 (tomorrow!): Network for Public Education (NPE) webinar

Uncovering the Truth using Freedom of Information Requests and other tools
NPE Action Webinar featuring the experiences of PAA founders Leonie Haimson and Dora Taylor, with Anthony Cody and Jonath
an Pelto.
Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM Eastern Time
Tuesday, March 29: PAA Book Club (see above)

8 pm ET, 5 pm PT
Register here.

Friday, April 15: PAA informal dinner get-together in Raleigh

Please contact us for more details,

Saturday, April 16: PAA Race, Poverty and Education workshop at the NPE conference in Raleigh

Please join us at 11:35 am for our presentation and discussion on Parent Voices on the Impact of Race and Poverty on Educational Opportunity: A Call to Action. 

Several other sessions at the NPE conference on both Saturday and Sunday, April 17, will feature PAA leaders as well. The full conference agenda is here. You can register for the conference here.
July 18 through 20: PAA annual meeting in Philadelphia

Help us honor PAA founding member and new Philly Councilwoman Helen Gym, meet up with fellow PAAers, share your work and join in planning for the next year of cutting-edge public school parent advocacy!

Details coming soon. 

Natalie receives award from
NCAE president Rodney Ellis
PAA founding member
Natalie Beyer honored

From the Herald Sun: Durham County School Board member Natalie Beyer has received the North Carolina Association of Educators' President's Award. The award is given annually to an individual or organization in recognition of outstanding work to advance the cause of public education in North Carolina.
" 'Natalie has consistently partnered with NCAE in organizing public education efforts," NCAE president Rodney Ellis said in a news release. "She takes tremendous pride in her role on the school board and is always willing to participate in activities that help promote our students and our schools, whether in Durham or statewide.'
"A member of the Durham County School Board since 2010, Beyer is a school and community volunteer. She is a founding member of Parents Across America, a grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the country to improve public schools. She is a native of Durham and attended Durham public schools. She has a bachelor's degree in English and Behavioral Science from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a master's of Healthcare Administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
"Ellis presented Beyer with the award during the Association's convention at the Embassy Suites Hotel on Saturday."

Congratulations, Natalie! We are so proud!

Sharon Higgin's last post on her great Perimeter Primate blog

Another PAA founding member, Sharon Higgins, deserves applause, too, as she takes a break from her amazing but intense work exposing various aspects of corporate reform on her blog, the Perimeter Primate

Over the past 8 years or so, Sharon has written several other blogs including the Broad Report, which exposed efforts by the Eli Broad Foundation to control the public school administrator pipeline. Sharon  named names so that parents and others around the US would know where so many prospective and hired superintendents came from and what they were trained to do. 

Sharon is most well-known for her Charter School Scandals blog, where she exposed the awful truth about so many charter schools, most notably the Gulen charter network. We wrote about that last week in promoting the new film, "Killing Ed," which highlights Sharon's work.

Sharon is still sharing information on Twitter - follow her @sharonoak

Thank you, Sharon, for being a relentless warrior for the truth!  


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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