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Dear (Contact First Name),

Parents want to know how PARCC and SBAC language arts tests will be scored this year - can we trust computers to do the job? Should we? Details below.


Action 1: Demand PARCC/SBAC answers!

We are hearing that there are some major problems with the way the SBAC and PARCC tests are going to be scored this year - specifically, that most of the language arts tests will be computer-scored, a process that experts consider unreliable. What's worse, the test publishers have failed to deliver on promised results of computer scoring validity and reliability studies.

PAA has endorsed a letter to the superintendents of PARCC/SBAC states drafted by PAA co-founder, Leonie Haimson, and Rachel Strickland, the leaders of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. Find the full letter here.

If you or a parent group you belong to can endorse this letter, please send your name and organizational affiliation to Leonie at asap (ideally, by the end of the day today).

They are also asking parents, advocates and groups from the PARCC/SBAC states to individually send the letter to your local state superintendents.

PARCC states: ColoradoDistrict of ColumbiaIllinois, MarylandNew JerseyNew Mexico, and Rhode Island. ( Louisiana, Massachusetts, the Bureau of Indian Education, and Department of Defense schools also are also reportedly participating at varying levels.)

 SBAC states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota,  Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, plus the US Virgin Islands, as well as in part in Michigan.   

Action 2: Cut a child some slack today!

We had a great start to our PAA Book Club last night. The group heard from P. L. Thomas, the author of "Beware the Roadbuilders: Literature as Resistance," and had an interesting discussion.

Unfortunately, the record function did not work, so we are unable to share the details that way and have instead prepared a summary of the discussion. You can read it here.

PAA Book Club
One of the key points we talked about was how to put into action some of the concerns we share about the impact of race and poverty on educational opportunity, the focus of our book club.

Dr. Thomas talked about the "slack" that cushions the lives of white people, who more often have resources that create a financial and personal safety net, while poor children of color, who are likely to live in much harsher circumstances, are "doubled down on" in school and life, told to have "grit," and actually required to live up to much higher standards of personal conduct and academic performance. He mentioned research that has found that employers prefer hiring white college drop outs over black college graduates. A new study found that wealthy black people are more likely to be incarcerated than poor white people.

His wish is that all children be given more "slack" in school and at home, to allow them to be children, to make mistakes and learn from them, and to be treated with patience. Every child's work should be "refrigerator worthy!"

Let's start there.

"Killing Ed" movie premieres

We've been sharing information about the opening of the Killing Ed movie, a film about the Turkish Gulen charter schools -- and in return, PAA is getting some nice mentions in the press thanks to our founding member and star of the movie, Sharon Higgins!  

For example, this was in a recent Huffington Post article about the movie:

"Thousands of people have been on these propaganda trips to Turkey," said Sharon Higgins, co-founder of Parents Across America and an expert on the Gülen charter 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

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