PAA Action News

This is from the Parents Across America Newsletter that is issued every week. If you would like to receive this, e-mail and request a subscription.

Issue # 12

June 7, 2012

Information and action for parents coming together to strengthen our public schools.

More at

PAA Action Alert

Help save class size reduction funds!

The US Senate may vote as early as Tuesday next week on  the Obama administration’s proposal to cut more than $600M in Title II funds now used for class size reduction, and to re-allocated this money to competitive grants for “teacher quality” that could be given to organizations like Teach for America, which puts inexperienced recruits in mostly high-need classrooms.

TFA and other such programs have not proven to be effective in improving student learning, but, like other pet programs of corporate reform, they are very useful in getting rid of experienced teachers and undermining their unions.

Class size reduction, on the other hand, is a proven reforms, and one that parents understand and support.

What can you do? Everyone can get a message to your senators – keep valuable, effective smaller class size funds, don’t redirect them to boondoggles like TFA!

Your message is especially critical if you live in states represented by the following members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (links take you to contact form):

Sen. Harkin (Indiana)

Here’s PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson’s recent post on the Washington Post Answer Sheet about this issue Does Ed Secretary Duncan agree with Romney on class size?, and here’s PAA’s fact sheet on the value of smaller class size.

The Lessons of Pineapplegate

Please read Leonie’s excellent article in the New York Times School Book blog,“The Lessons of Pineapplegate”:

Many of us fear that our state and federal education bureaucracy is becoming inextricably tangled with for-profit testing companies and thus deeply compromised, like the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned of just before he retired. Their testing obsession is undermining our schools, not only in this city, but nationally, and it has got to stop.

Leonie references this week’s protest by New York City parents who are planning to boycott the Pearson field tests and rally outside Pearson headquarters, in what is being called a “field trip against field tests.”

If you haven’t endorsed the National Resolution against High-Stakes Testing, or encouraged your local school board, PTA, or other advocacy group to sign on yet, do it now!

More PAA(ers) in the news

North Carolina PAA’ers establish statewide group 

Public Education First – North Carolina is a new, statewide organization that brings together activists from several North Carolina cities to work for positive change at the state level, and in individual communities. PAA members Pamela Grundy in Charlotte, Natalie Beyer in Durham and Patty Williams in Raleigh were among the folks who’ve been working on the organization.

The group debuted with an op-ed piece in the Raleigh News and Observer regarding a piece of ALEC-inspired voucher legislation that has just been introduced in the NC state legislature.

Check out their website and Facebook page.

(Coming soon to the state of Washington.)

 Educational Courage  

Beacon Press announced the September 2012 publication of “Educational Courage: Resisting the Ambush of Public Education,” which includes a chapter by PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff. You can pre-order the book at Beacon Press, Amazon, etc.

Join Us!

Parents Across America invites existing local or statewide groups who share our overall goals of progressive, positive education reform and more parent input in education policymaking to affiliate with us. The more of us there are, the stronger our voice will be at every level. We are also looking for parents who are interested in forming new chapters of PAA in their states and/or local communities. Check out what we believe, and if you agree, join with us!

PAA Chapter/Affiliate News

Welcome new affiliate!

Welcome to our new South Carolina affiliate, Sumter Education Task Force (SETF) in Sumter, SC; Founded by Parrish Rabon, they are working closely with Charleston Area Community Voice for Education.


On Wednesday, three PAA-CT members, Mary Gallucci, Darcy Hicks and Wendy Lecker, testified at the Connecticut State Board of Education meeting in Hartford against the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations.

Here is a video of some of the testimony:


PAA member Susan Barrett reports on a march in Portland, “Standing up to Stand for Children,” that Stand for Children wanted to stop.

From the Portland Area Social Equality Educators: event Facebook page:

Yesterday, we received an email from the Stand Advocacy Director asking us to call off tomorrow’s march:

“I know it’s last minute, but we’d love to see if there’s a way to find common ground instead of fighting each other. Instead of a protest, would you be open to a conversation with available staff and volunteer leaders at Stand? We’d be glad to host anyone who is interested in our conference room on Thursday, May 31st at 4:30.

Portland SEE said “No thank you”:

We would be happy to sit down at a later date to have a conversation and explain in more detail why, in our view, the reforms Stand is pushing benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99%-teachers, students and parents. We also welcome you to come outside on Thursday and hear what we have to say.

PAA Blog Highlights

In addition to the articles already mentioned in this newsletter, new posts on the PAA blog this week include:

Grassroots or astroturf? Parents, be aware!

Parents’ secret anti-charter weapons: wit, talent, YouTube  

Fact-checking “Won’t Back Down” Parent Trigger propaganda flick

Another far-right-funded film, another false story about schools  

Parent Trigger flap over paid flacks vs. real advocates

Parents Across America (PAA) is a non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together on improving our nation’s public schools.

PAA is committed to bringing the voice of public school par­ents – and common sense – to local, state, and national education debates.