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Dear (Contact First Name), 

We had a great leadership conference in Philadelphia - here's a summary report, photos and links to some of the great presentations!

Comments on ESSA regs
due Monday Aug. 1 
Today PAA submitted comments sharing our concerns and recommendations on the draft rules for implementing the new federal education law, the Every Child Succeeds Act or ESSA.

All comments must be submitted by Monday, August 1.

Our main points are that we oppose rules that would
  • punish schools when parents opt their children out,
  • force states to place simple-minded labels on schools, and
  • encourage more teaching to the test.

We think it would be better for ESSA to    

  • give parents a stronger voice in school decision making,
  • promote teacher-based assessment, and
  • support better improvement strategies such as lower class size, comprehensive student services, and culturally-relevant curriculum.

There's still time for you to share your thoughts with the Dept of Ed - you don;t have to write a lot. Just tell them what you think about the way NCLB failed and what we really need to do to help our children and our schools.  


PAA conference report

Parents Across America held our fourth annual leadership conference in Philadelphia PA from July 18-20, with twenty great leaders from twelve states. Most were in the room and some joined us online. We had an excellent mix of new and returning leaders and of geography, cultural background, age, and gender (three men!!!).

What we discussed, experienced, and learned

We had a rich program of discussion, sharing, learning and planning over one full and two half days.
  • We agreed that our annual meetings are very important to the effectiveness of PAA. We need to be together face-to-face, learn form each other, hear each other, and pump each other up!
  • We also agreed that we need to go back to Washington DC for our next conference. so that we can continue to meet with legislators.
  • We shared new information about EdTech and worked on new solutions to racism and poverty in education.
We shared pizza Tuesday evening with PAA founding member Sharon Higgins, who gave us some background on the new documentary, "Killing Ed," which features her years of intense research and reporting on the secretive Gulen chain of charter schools and their connection to an exiled Turkish Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The timing could not have been better, given the breaking news of an attempted coup in Turkey, and accusations by the Turkish president that Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania not far from where we held our conference, was behind the effort.

Most attendees had not seen this powerful film, and we gave out 10 dvd copies so that they can share it at home and in their schools and communities. Everyone agreed that every parent needs to know what's in this important film.

The details of each session are here, and include links to a couple of session recordings and the slide show for other sessions.

PAA Board member the "more intelligent" school board candidate: former opponent

In this polarized political environment, it's rare to  hear a candidate state that he is withdrawing his name from the ballot because his opponent is a better choice!

But that's what our Khem Irby's former challenger just did.

"I just thought High Point needed somebody younger, probably more intelligent and more active than me," Price said, according to N & R

Khem is that and more, Mr. Price, and you did the right thing.


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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