Schedule of PAA presenters at October 2017 NPE conference

Crowd at PAA’s 2016 NPE workshop

The Network for Public Education is the nation’s foremost public school advocacy group. NPE connects all those who are passionate about our schools – students, parents, teachers and citizens – to preserve, promote, improve and strengthen public schools for both current and future generations of students.

The annual NPE conference is a time when advocates get together to share ideas, challenges and successes. It’s a great time to meet face to face with people you know so well online (Diane Ravitch!!!), and to refuel for the ongoing battle to save public education.
PAA will be well-represented among presenters at the conference. The scheduled for panels including PAA leaders is below.

Real Parent Voice – Real Parent Choice: How Parents Across America Connects the Dots

┬áSaturday, Oct. 14, 1:20 – 2:35 pm
Khem Irby

All PAA panel

Moderator: Dora Taylor, past PAA President, leader of PAA-Seattle
Panelists: Khem Irby, newly-elected PAA President, founder of PAA affiliate The Mothers Agenda (NYC and PAA-Greensboro
Zerlina Smith, PAA Board of Directors, PAA-Chicago
Mary Battenfeld, QUEST, Boston MA
While public school parents/families bear the brunt of corporate education reform, our voices are too often drowned out by well-funded astroturf groups and politicians pandering to their donors’ pet causes. This session will demonstrate how Parents Across America (PAA) helps connect, equip and empower parents to more effectively address the national privatization agenda as well as their local struggles, producing a stronger national voice of progressive parents to counter the false narratives about parent “choice.” By sharing stories and strategies, we hope to encourage parents and others to keep fighting, and to model the ways we learn from each other and are able to put that knowledge to work. In the first half of the session, PAA leader/presenters will briefly share some of their recent challenges and successes fighting corporate reform, and touch on some of the PAA and other resources and strategies they use. There will be time for questions and answers. In the second half of the session, we will ask attendees to sit at tables with others from their state or region. Additional PAA leader will lead each table in a discussion of shared concerns and ideas for ways we can better support each other locally and have a stronger national voice, capturing action ideas on butcher paper. We’ll end with a brief report out time focused on sharing any big ideas that got people excited.


9:30 – 10:45 am, Saturday, Oct 14
Including illusory benefits of ed teach with specific examples on how the ed tech lobby distorts and/or obscures negative research findings.

1:20 – 2:35 pm, Saturday, Oct 14


PAA past President Dora Taylor will also serve on the following panel:

Our society is mesmerized by the combination of technology, innovation, and the promise of progress. Will the re-engineering of our public schools with the introduction of ed-tech and personalized learning pathways bring more opportunity to students? Or is the opposite true? Could impersonal algorithms narrow children’s education options to tiny slivers of skill-based competencies more suitable for the gig economy? Why are educational software programs not vetted as school textbooks have been in the past? The future is now. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of personalized learning, the open market that has been created with educational software privatizing the area of curriculum in our schools and the possible futures our children will face.


Eileen Brown, leader of PAA affiliate PAA-North Bay (CA), will offer strategies to combat charter school expansion in two sessions:

2:45 – 4:00 pm, Saturday, Oct 14
We will briefly present public opinion research that shows broad bi-partisan support for common sense charter school legislative reforms. Panelists will offer perspectives from different positions in three California school districts. Panelists include a school district superintendent, a school board member and a parent. They will describe how current charter law in California prevents accountability and harms existing district schools. They will also describe their work under the current law and organize at the grassroots to make charters more accountable and protect public schools.
Moderated by Robert Ovetz, parent and professor who co-organized a successful campaign to block a charter school in West Marin, California The panel will include activists from two diverse communities who have and are currently organizing campaigns to stop charter schools. It will be organized as an open discussion including several activists who have successfully fought charter schools and some who are engaged in current campaigns to fight them. After short presentations the moderator will engage those attending to discuss tactics and strategies they are using in their efforts in order to provide activists with sources of new ideas for tactics and strategies to use in their own exisitng and future campaigns. The objective of the panel is to brainstorm new tactics and strategy for fighting charter schools as the basis for developing a guide for fighting and defeating charter schools.


Pamela Grundy, PAA founding member, former PAA Board member, and leader of PAA affiliate Mecklenburg ACTS (NC), will be a panelist on the following:

This panel will address efforts to create new local and national narratives around school integration, and to build a national network of families who have the commitment and understanding to help fashion integrated school communities that benefit all of a school’s students. While attention to the value of integrated schools has risen in recent years, the parallel rise of “choice” has complicated efforts to promote racial, ethnic, and especially economic integration. In many districts, schools can only be effectively integrated if families deliberately choose integration. That choice, however, often requires families to look beyond dominant narratives about school “quality,” which focus on facilities, test scores, PTA fundraising, and other criteria. The panelists, who have chosen to send their own children to integrated schools in Los Angeles, Charlotte, and New York, have spent years working to create new local narratives about integrated schools.


Stick around long enough and you can hear from PAA interim executive director Julie Woestehoff on a panel with FairTests’s Monty Neill!

Testing Panel
11:00 am – 12:10 pm, Sunday, Oct 15


The full conference schedule is here.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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