PAA Action Alert
Another “Waiting for Superman”?Let’s challenge the Hollywood “parent trigger” movie!

Today PAA sent around our “thumbs down” review of the trailer for an upcoming movie called “Won’t Back Down.”

First the corporate reformers tried to sway the public against public schools and teachers with the pseudo-documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” and now they are bringing out big name stars in a big-budget movie to push the “parent trigger” method of school closure and privatization.

Both films were produced by Walden Media owned by conservative media mogul Philip Anschutz.

The WBD trailer claims the film is “based on real events” and is clearly using the real “parent trigger” effort in Compton CA as a springboard – but WBD completely distorts what happened there.

For example, the movie shows Maggie Gyllenhall’s “just-a-mom” character leading a petition drive to “take over” the school. In real life, it was an outside organization promoting a specific charter school that started the campaign, using paid organizers to gather signatures.

(See Ben Austin and His Parent Trigger, Now in Seattle and Ben Austin’s Antics Continued.)

Read the point-by-point breakdown by PAA’s Caroline Grannan of what the trailer shows and what really happened when charter promoters tried to “parent trigger” a school in Compton CA.

Then copy, paste and send our press release to your local movie critic with this message: Parents vote thumbs down to “Won’t Back Down”!


More actions for the week:

Join the SOS Webinar on testing with FairTest’s Monty Neill: Friday 6/15 at 9pm Eastern – register here.

Give your feedback on the PARCC national language arts testing framework through June 27. Survey form is here. Comments on math tests will open June 25. More on PARCC from PAA here and here.

PAA News
Award-winning activist – PAA’s Rita Solnet!Rita Solnet was named Best Political Activist 2012

by Broward-Palm Beach New Times:

Rita Solnet is the rare activist with powerful allies inside and outside government. Her diligently researched arguments prompt policy changes with far-reaching implications throughout the state. The Boca Raton mom helped found the national, nonpartisan group Parents Across America, which rails against privatization and high-stakes testing in schools. This year, she helped prevent a for-profit company with a dismal track record, Mavericks in Education, from opening three new charter schools in Palm Beach County. Then she took the fight to Tallahassee, successfully protesting a “parent empowerment” bill that would have allowed public schools to be converted to charters.

Congratulations, Rita! A well-deserved honor!

National Resolution Update

Rita was delighted to share the news that two more Florida school boards, in Pinellas and Okaloosa Counties, have passed a resolution against high-stakes testing.She reports that several other school boards will be voting on the resolution in the coming days.

Another big win – the Tulsa Oklahoma school board.

Karran Harper Royal at Netroots Nation

PAA’s New Orleans founding member Karran Harper Royal was a panelist at the Netroots Nation annual conference in Providence RI last week speaking on Education as a Right-Wing Wedge Issue-and How to Stop It.

More PAA(ers) in the news

PAA’s Philadelphia founding member Helen Gym in the Associated Press:

“For 10 years we’ve lived with promises that privatization and choice options would be the magic bullet to a lot of the problems,” said parent Helen Gym. “What we found is chasing after these silver bullets has really drained schools of resources and starved them to the point of dysfunction.”

The passion in the room left Gym, perhaps the district’s most outspoken activist, at an uncharacteristic loss for words as she stood to address the commissioners. Her voice faltered briefly before launching into the eloquent and hard-charging criticism for which she is known.

Afterward, Gym said she was overcome by the emotion overflowing from the broad coalition of students, parents, teachers, district staff, clergy, union leaders and residents.

“It’s a real last stand around public education,” Gym said. “And to have all these people come out … was, I thought, just incredibly powerful.”

PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson from NYC in Reuters story “Parents Protest Surge in Standardized Testing”:

“I see frustration and bitterness among parents growing by leaps and bounds,” said Leonie Haimson, a mother who runs Class Size Matters, an advocacy group in New York City that pushes for reduced testing and smaller class sizes. “What parents are saying is, ‘Enough is enough.'”

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! Read more here.
PAA Chapter/Affiliate News
Welcome new affiliate!The editor is especially pleased to welcome new affiliate, the 19th Ward Parents Organization from Chicago! This new group has really made its mark in the city, especially around the issue of the Mayor’s longer school day proposal.Contact for the group is Becky Malone, and their web site is Size Matters’ Skinny Awards

Leonie Haimson hosted her organization’s “Skinny Awards” fundraiser last week with guest speaker Diane Ravitch.

NC PAA members get meeting invite from test publisher

Members of PAA affiliate Mecklenberg ACTS Pamela Grundy and Carol Sawyer received a letter from a vice-president at test publishing company Houghton-Mifflin as a result of their letter to the editor published in the Charlotte Observer last week.

Pamela also wrote a beautiful blog post, “The Last Day at Shamrock,” about her family’s experiences at a neighborhood school they were warned against, but which turned into an amazing place for everyone. Don’t miss it.

Looking for regular updates on key education stories? Join the PAA News list. Email 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.