Parent trigger misfires by disrupting and dismantling local schools

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(This article was written in collaboration with Sharon Higgins.)

Simplistic ideas may look appealing at first glance, but they rarely solve complex problems. Too often they have the potential to make things worse.

That’s true of California’s so-called Parent Empowerment Act. It created the “parent trigger,” which allows a majority of parents in a low-performing school to petition for drastic changes, including takeover by a charter school operator.

As urban public school parents and advocates, we support true parent empowerment and involvement, and effective, research-based reforms such as smaller classes and increased parent participation. But the parent trigger doesn’t promote sound practices for school improvement. It benefits corporate charter school operators – not children.

The parent trigger was created by the organization Parent Revolution, which is not a parent group but was founded by charter school operators, backed financially by billionaires and corporate interests.

The law allows parents to petition to: hand the school over to a charter operator, close the school, replace the staff and create a new administrative structure, or replace the principal.

Parent trigger drives are under way at two California schools. At Compton’s McKinley Elementary, the situation has exploded into chaos after more than 60 percent of the school’s parents signed a petition calling for takeover by the Celerity Educational Group charter operator.

McKinley parents did not initiate their parent trigger. Rather, Parent Revolution targeted their school to be a test case by pre-selecting the charter operator and then deploying a sophisticated, secretive operation, sending paid signature-gatherers door to door. With no transparency or public discussion, parents never learned about the options or heard opposing views. After the petitions were submitted, 200-plus parents protesting the charter takeover packed a Compton school board meeting, news reports said.

Meanwhile, a parent trigger at Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland, near Los Angeles, is run by a parent who wants to replace the principal. That lagging effort doesn’t benefit corporate charter schools, and Parent Revolution has given it scant attention.

What are the problems?

  • The parent trigger’s narrow, disruptive options have shown no reliable success in improving schools nationwide. In fact, decades into the charter school movement, and despite its aggressive promotion by moneyed interests, there is still no consistent research demonstrating that  charter schools provide an academically superior education.
  • The outcome of the parent trigger – disrupting and dismantling schools – is likely to harm vulnerable students and communities where the school provides stability.
  • A parent trigger “transformation” has significant impact beyond the targeted school. If parents voted to close a school, neighboring schools would be severely affected.
  • Allowing a hostile takeover of a public asset by individuals is questionable. Consider applying that to a police department or a park.

Better ideas

  • We praise state Superintendent Tom Torlakson and the Los Angeles Times editorial board for recognizing that the parent trigger is deeply flawed.
  • We support genuine parent empowerment through the strengthening of School Site Councils, PTAs, PTOs, Title 1 Parent Advisory Councils, and more. We believe that reform strategies must be devised at the school level, to address each school’s specific needs.
  • If the parent trigger continues, transparency and disclosure must be required. Options must be aired fully and discussed openly, with all parents included – as well as teachers.
  • The law must fully specify details, including the steps after a petition is delivered.
  • Paid organizers must publicly identify themselves and disclose their financial backers.
  • The law must specify what entity oversees the entire process.

School reform must truly empower parents and benefit children. To us, the parent trigger is simply a ploy to channel public money into private hands.

For further reading:

The Los Angeles Times on Parent Revolution’s founding:The initiative is the latest envelope-pushing project for the publicity-savvy [Steve] Barr and his Green Dot Public Schools.”

The Los Angeles Weekly on the Compton parent trigger: Parent Revolution decided to focus on McKinley Elementary School and approach parents there after researching the worst school districts in California. … [Parent Revolution's paid] field organizers have canvassed a large chunk of the 10-square-mile city of Compton …”

California Watch on the secretive signature-gathering: “The petition was the end result of a stealth campaign led by Parent Revolution, a nonprofit organization closely allied with the charter school movement …”

The Los Angeles Weekly on Compton parents’ opposition to the parent trigger:We’re reporting live from the CUSD board meeting, packed with press and hundreds of angry parents – many of whom say they were tricked into signing the Parent Trigger petition without understanding its gravity.”

The Los Angeles Daily News on the parent trigger in Sunland, Calif.: “We want to see change.”

The California Federation of Teachers blog: “They never said this was a petition for a charter school. … I don’t want that for McKinley.”

Caroline Grannan, of San Francisco, and Sharon Higgins, of Oakland, have a total of 33 years’ experience between them as urban public school parents, volunteers, and advocates. They are West Coast founding members of Parents Across America, a national organization working to strengthen the parent voice in setting education policy at national, state, and local levels.

31 Comments

  1. Good solid debate about Parent Empowerment is not only a good thing, its a great thing. But fear mongering, lies, and misinformation has little to do with improving our schools and changing the way we mistreat kids, teachers and parents.
    The Parent Trigger is about empowering parents and not about charter schools. Its about bringing their voices to the negotiating table when issues like class size, and quality of education comes up. And its mostly about saying that all children, even those in low-income areas have a California constitutional right to a good education.
    Before, when parents want to demand change, they had no clout. Unless they want to sell their house, their public school is out of their control. There was no weight behind their words when they said “we want change.” With the Parent Trigger law, the parents have real power and a real way to speak up.
    It’s incredible that anyone would demand to take away McKinley parents right to change their own school. Speaking with parents at McKinley, it’s inspiriting how these parents are fighting up hill everyday to make sure their kids can read and do basic algebra.  When parents at a school where children are 50 times more likely to drop out than go to college demand more, we should listen.  That is not some group pulling strings. It’s parents demanding what all parents want: access to good a good education for their kids.
    The simple fact is that the Parent Trigger movement is growing stronger by the day. McKinley and Mt. Gleason are not the only schools that have reached out to us but many others across the state and not just about the charter option but about building a real parents union at their own school to create change on the ground level. It’s incredibly sad how many parents have felt that same helpless feeling when it comes to real changes in their schools and its more sad that some want to take away the first law that gives real power to parents.
    On Tuesday, 19,000 teachers were handed pink slips and will worry for months if this will be their last class they teach. No one spoke to the parents about this. Some schools asked for donations after the fact, but no one asked them about their child’s teachers. Without a parent empowerment law and organized parents that know their rights, parents don’t have a voice. District bureaucrats just tell them what happens next. It’s time to give real weight to parent voices and ensure that good teachers are empowered and enabled to teach kids.
    I encourage folks to follow the story and also to check out our website for more information: http://www.parentrevolution.org. While Carolyn has chosen a choice few quotes, check out this article where LA Weekly intimately followed Parent Revolution and also this article from Educated Guess too. You can also read herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here…(the list just goes on and on) for more information.

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  2. Thank you Caroline Grannan, for the excellent rundown of background re: Parent Trigger and expose’ of Parent Revolution’s role in putting the  parent trigger law in place, using it to
    exploit a charter school agenda.   In the list of  ”What are the problems?”, you have identified
    the heart of  THE PROBLEM as a “questionable” factor.   (“Allowing a hostile takeover of a public asset by individuals is questionable.  Consider applying that to a police department or a park”.)
    More than “questionable”, it is an affront to constitutuional representative governance which is alluded to by asking readers to extrapolate the concept to other public government entities.
    Parent Trigger laws essentially disenfranchise citizens and taxpayers who either do not have children in government schools, or did not sign a parent trigger petition.  Therefore the issue becomes much more far reaching than schools, and may well be the first of future “hostile takeovers of public assets by  ”individual”, “private”, “corporate” or “other” interests. 

    Legislators should know better than to pass legislation which has potential to disenfranchise their own elected representational authority.  “Elected” is the key word here.   We watch the TV daily of peoples who  risk life and limb for the privilege of exercising a right to vote to ELECT
    representatives  accountable to them, the electorate.   Parent trigger laws, are a step in the opposite direction of that.

    That having been said,   by providing a list of  “Better Ideas” which allows for accommodating any Parent Trigger Law at all, and suggesting criteria for accommodation of Parent Trigger Law, encourages the very thing which is fundamentally designed to disrupt and destroy the concept of democratically elected representation itself.  The only “better idea” is to
    oppose the CONCEPT of Parent Trigger Law as unconstitutional.  It needs to be repealed, for
    the perpetrators will be only too happy to see a tweaked version of  it become a first of legalized
    Revolution, which can become a model to go and do likewise to systematically dismantle the
    our constitutional republic.  

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  3. Parent empowerment has just meant the empowerment of Ben Austin, flying monkey of the Broad Foundation, to facilitate the harvesting of public sector resources by private sector interests. Interestingly, Beverly Hills Ben’s children attend a school district (Beverly Hills, duh) that has made motions to prevent any out of district students from attending. If Parent Revolution did decide to close down a school, granted this is unlikely since they are the dupes of private sector charter school management interests, those little brown kids who will then be scattered here and there won’t likely be sitting in a desk next to Ben Austin’s kids.

    As Carolyn points out what eveidence is avilable on the charter option, done by USDE’s NCES and Hoover/Stanford’s CREDO, suggests there is twice as good a chance a charter will have lower student achievement than higher achievement compared to a regular public school. Added that the record of charter’s re special ed kids is terrible indicating Parent Revolution is an example of a sad exploitation of a community in need.

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  4. The title here is incorrect.  The parent trigger isn’t misfiring by disrupting and dismantling schools.  “Disrupting and dismantling” dysfunctional schools is the whole point of the parent trigger.
     
    The idea that charter schools don’t have a meaningful impact is based solely on Diane Ravitch’s book which grossly simplifies one of the CREDO reports over at http://credo.stanford.edu/. I wonder if she or anyone else in the press who have quoted that report actually read it.  It is much more sophisticated than the “charter schools don’t work” idea promoted here and elsewhere.  It points out that charters work in some cases and not others and those cases where they have a positive impact are significant.   E.g., children in poverty for one, elementary schools for another.  More importantly, that is only one report of many that have been published on the impact of charter schools.  Another that really needs to be considered is Hoxby’s report on NYC public schools at http://www.nber.org/~schools/charterschoolseval/.  (NY state was not considered in the Credo report Ravitch referred to).  That report was immensely more sophisticated and detailed in its statistical analysis and concluded that charter schools in NYC had a significant net positive impact, particularly for those most at risk.  Ravitch had to have known about that report since she mentions Hoxby early on in her book so it is a sin of omission that she didn’t refer to it.  Interestingly, the CREDO group later looked at NYC public schools and came to basically the same conclusion as Hoxby.  There are many other studies, reports, etc. looking at charter schools’ impact, not least of which would be the example of New Orleans public schools which are virtually all charter schools and have shown significant gains with a large urban population.
     
    The idea of PTAs, School Site Councils, etc. as examples of parent involvement having any meaningful impact is laughable.  They are all largely powerless and composed of true-believer sycophants selected by the very administration that is self-serving and in need of reforming.  As an example, the head of the regional PTSA in the Cupertino-Sunnyvale area is a manager in one of the school districts.  She even served as treasurer on the re-election campaign of the current rubber-stamp school board.  So much for parent involvement.

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  5. Thanks for your thoughtful and revealing article on the ‘parent trigger’ and Ben Austin’s role. Isn’t it ironic that when states are dramatically slashing investment in education we are faced with ‘solutions’ like this that attempt to draw our atention away from the real problem?

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  6. Hi Gary,
    Thank you for expressing your concerns. In truth, the organizers on the ground working with families are from communities across southern California, from Hawthorne to the Inland Empire. So any concerns about a Beverly Hills evil empire seems strange.

     
    The Credo study is always cited when charter schools are discussed. Fortunately, Parent Revolution, Parent Trigger and the Parents at McKinley are not about charter schools. We are about empowering parents with laws that give them options.  Celerity is a great organization that has had great success in improving the education of kids similar to those at McKinley for years. Look it up for yourself. I don’t understand why you are hellbent on denying “little brown kids” (as you yourself so oddly enough labeled all children at McKinley) or any child an opportunity at a school that does far better.
     
    Beyond that, the parents liked Celerity. They visited one of the schools, spoke with students and parents at the school and even spoke with the head of the organization.

     
    I don’t know how to make this more clear since you apparently have skipped every single instance we have stated this but, We don’t represent charter schools in any way. We are working with and supporting the work at Mt. Gleason. If parents want change they deserve a right to express their interest and to be taken seriously.
     

    You are also inaccurately quoting the use of the law. Should the parents at a school choose to shut down the school and send their children to nearby schools and the school district says it wouldn’t work (either because those schools would be overwhelmed or else wise) then the school won’t close down.

    And finally, can we please not resort to name calling? That was a ridiculously immature move and I would expect more from a contributor to this forum.

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  7. I believe the law limited the application of parent trigger to a set of the lowest performing schools?  Is that not the case?  I’m questioning your assertion that selecting a random charter school would result in a worse school.

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  8. Well, thank you, Linda and Michael G.

    If  Parent Revolution was not about charter schools why was that the one option on the petition sneaked around the Compton community?

    Caorolyn has provided a link to the CFT’s  (my organization) article with the on the record quotes of those Compton parents who were steam-rollered by Ben Austin. It is clear this was not an issue of parent power, it was an issue of the Parent Empowerment-Broad Foundation (or do I repeat myself?) agenda.

    I have nothing against charter schools when that is an appropriate response to an educational challenge. I helped write a charter. CFT represents many charter teachers.

    When charters are sold as silver-bullets to confused parents that is misrepresentation. When the misrepresentation disrupts communities that are already struggling it becomes tragedy.

    Hoxby’s “research,” was shredded by CREDO at her own Hoover Institution. Log on to thier site. She “intended” the “reserach” to be peer reviewed but, “ somehow,”  it wasn’t. It’s conservative advertising. The great success of any schools in NY in improving achievement, Bloomberg/Klein’s claim to fame, has been totally debunked. They were gaming the numbers. See the NY Times.

    CREDO is not alone in its charter conclusions. The USDE’s NCES also did a charter study, under BushII no less, that was less than flattering for charter schools. UCLA joined in. NCES akso did work on voucher and private schools finding, when matched for SES, neither did any better than regular public schools. These studies earned NCES a stern caution from Margaret Spellings to “stop it” with the studies. Just collect data and shut up. Then there are the studies about the increased economic and ethnic segregation driven by charters.

    You have to hand it to the CREDO people. How do they get away with doing some real academic work at Hoover?

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  9. I am honored, Mr. Ravani,  that you took the time to refer to my humble submission.  I am truly glad you are an admirer of Stanford’s CREDO, Mr. Ravani.  CREDO’s investigation of the impact of charter schools did not end with their National Assessment.  They also did one on Indiana released March 9, 2011 (last week, as I write).  The press release states:
    “….overall, charter school performance in Indiana and Indianapolis outpaced the traditional public schools in learning gains. Looking at the distribution of school performance, 98% of the charter schools had similar or superior academic growth than the traditional public schools in reading and 100% of charter schools had similar or superior academic growth in math compared to traditional public schools.”
    “…Black students in charter schools reported significantly better learning gains than Black students in traditional public schools. In fact, Black students in charter schools in Indiana grow at similar rates to the average white student in a traditional public school in math. Charter school students in poverty also reported significantly better learning gains than their peers at traditional public schools in math as did charter school students that were retained a grade.”
    See: http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/INPressReleaseMarch92011.pdf
    And let us not forget CREDO’s study of NYC charter schools for which the press release of January 5, 2010 is subtitled:
    “CREDO Report Finds that New York City Charter Schools Do Significantly Better with Blacks, Hispanics and Students Who Had Not Previously Done Well”
    Above from http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/CREDO%20NYC%20report%20Press%20Release%20–%20FINAL.pdf
    (use the above link – the link on the CREDO home page is out of date).
     
    The full report is at:
    http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/NYC%202009%20_CREDO.pdf
    (again, the link on the CREDO home page is out of date).
     
    You direct us to “see the NY Times”.  “See the NY Times” is not all that helpful as there are 3,000 search results in the NY Times involving CREDO none of which seem on the first few pages to be relevant.    You would aid us all with a tad more specificity in your references.  Thank you in advance.

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  10. So much of the dialog around the Parent Trigger centers on the specifics of Compton, McKinley, the influence of Parent Revolution and the role of charters.  The fact is our legislators, in the rush to qualify for an ill-fated bid for the Race to the Top, passed the Romero/Austin/Lucia Parent Trigger bill for ALL Californians.  It’s also the launching point for similar bills in other states.
     
    When the SBE considers refining the rules, I hope they’ll do their best to separate the circus of the Compton test from the circumstances we’ll face in other districts. When taken in that light, the recommendations of the California PTA and the “better ideas” above merit serious consideration.
     
    As a parent, one of the more troubling tactics in the McKinley case was the intentional pitting of petitioners against PTA parents. I hope that was anomaly limited to the dynamics of that community and not something the originators of the bill intend to see duplicated up and down the state.  In challenging times for public education, that kind of internal warfare helps no one, least of all our children in our neighborhood schools.
     
     
     

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  11. Suz, the demonizing of the PTA in the Parent Revolution commentary and also the in openly pro-Parent Revolution articles in the Los Angeles Weekly was quite eye-catching. The commentaries in both forums portrayed the situation as the PTA vs. the parents, as though the PTA were some kind of monolithic outside force. Actually, of course, the PTA IS the parents.
     
    And perhaps our commentary should have also mentioned the pitting of parents against teachers during the process. Parent Revolution and the L.A. Weekly are also demonizing the McKinley teachers, and Parent Revolution has filed some kind of charges with the U.S. Department of Education accusing McKinley of civil rights violations because it claims McKinley teachers were committing harassment. The investigation/prosecution process is unclear (to me).

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  12. How does the parent trigger option that could hand a school over to a private charter operator square with the notion that public schools are created and  funded by all taxpayers, even those whose children do not attend the school in question?  Isn’t there a compelling argument that  because public schools exist as community-wide public trusts that all citizens–whether parents or not— should have the expectation that decisions regarding their use and operation  be made by locally elected and accountable officials acting on behalf of the entire community?
    The idea that a relatively small group of parents (a bare majority) can petition to give away a public (collectively “owned)  resources to a private operator,  with potentially significant impacts on the broader community and taxpayers,  seems loaded with problems and issues–including challenges to the most basic notions of representative democracy, local governance and public trust doctrine.

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  13. Why did Parent Revolution choose McKinley?  Why didn’t Parent Revolution tell the McKinley parent of the 3 turnaround choices that were available? Why did Parent Revolution make the choice for the parents?

    McKinley vs. GREEN DOTs APIs
    The 2010 API score for McKinley was 684 –  a 77 point increase in the last 3 years.
    The 2010 API scores for the following Green Dot charter schools are:
     
    Animo Locke #3: 495
    Animo Locke ACE: 537
    Animo Locke #1: 563
    Locke: 567
    Animo Locke #2: 605
    Animo Tech: 606
    Animo Ralph Bunche: 658
    Why did Parent Revolution go after those failing schools???? McKinley outscored all of them! And given the fact that McKinley has made 77 points of growth in the last 3 years, how did you convince those parents that the school was failing their children? I’d love to know what script was used to convince parents to sign the petition. Parent Revolution might want to consider cleaning up their own Green Dots before going after neighborhood public schools.
     
     

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  14. @Michael – the Hoxby study has been widely discredited.

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  15. @Linda – “We are about empowering parents with laws that give them options.” Then why didn’t Parent Revolution tell those parents what the options were?
     

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  16. @Lori Jablonski,
     
    It could be you are confused about charter schools. Charter schools are public schools, except that they have charters that may define more specific goals for them than those of generic public schools. Charter schools have to accept anyone who applies to them, except when they are oversubscribed and then a lottery takes place. They are funded from public funds, typically at 70%-80% funding levels as compared to public schools. In other words, a creation of a charter school typically leaves more money per student in the system for students in the “regular” public schools.
     
    Most charters are run by some type of non-profit organization, whether local ad-hoc organization created by the charter community, or by a regional one like Aspire, Green Dot, or ICEF. A few are run by for profit organizations. In both cases this does not turn them into “private schools” any more than Stanford’s running Stanford Linear Accelerator for U.S. Dept. of Energy makes SLAC a “private laboratory” — SLAC is still a federal national laboratory that has to follow most federal rules.
     
    In other words your observation that ” a relatively small group of parents (a bare majority) can petition to give away a public (collectively “owned)  resources to a private operator,  with potentially significant impacts on the broader community and taxpayers,  seems loaded with problems and issues–including challenges to the most basic notions of representative democracy, local governance and public trust doctrine” is based on false assumptions. In a charter situation a group of stakeholders decides that it wants to have more direct control over the education of their children. There is nothing “non-public” about the idea, and charters still need to abide by equity standards and by academic content required from pubic schools. It is no different from CSU San Jose providing different programs from US Santa Cruz, and both being quite different from UC Berkeley.

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  17. Comments on Ze’ev’s comments.

    Charter schools are privately run*, though funded with public dollars. That’s basically their whole point. In a current Chicago controversy, a charter school called the Chicago Math and Science Academy “is arguing that it is a private institution, a move teachers say is designed to block them from forming a union,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
     
    The issue of whether the school’s operator is a nonprofit isn’t relevant to the question of whether a charter school is privately run. Many, possibly most, schools officially categorized as private/independent (as opposed to public or charter) are operated by nonprofits too.
     
     
    Sharon Higgins’ and my point in this post, reiterated by commenter Lori Jablonski, is that a fully realized parent trigger (one that calls for closing the public school and arranging for a charter operator to run it) turns a public property over to a private operator. That is simply, indisputably the case. The operator is private, even if one argues that the charter school is still public — and, as the Chicago school’s situation reveals, not all charter operators agree that their schools are public.
     
    A charter school is not comparable to a CSU or a UC, because CSUs and UCs are public institutions that are not run by private operators.
     
    *There are charter schools in existence that are run by entities such as state universities. I don’t know of any source that tells us how many. UC-San Diego runs a charter school, the Preuss School (which has been marked by both sky-high test scores and cheating scandals, but that’s another story). Others here and there are run by school districts themselves. I’ll call those outliers; though I don’t know how many are in those categories, they’re clearly not the norm.
     
    The Chicago Tribune article on the Chicago Math and Science Academy’s describing itself as a private school:
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-22/news/ct-met-charter-school-fight-0222-20110221_1_charter-schools-timothy-knowles-urban-education-institute
    (An aside: The charter school in the Chicago controversy happens to be one of the schools affiliated with the Turkish Gulen movement, as described in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. My co-author on this post, Sharon Higgins, has been researching and blogging about the Gulen charters for quite some time.)
     
    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/118313549.html?page=2&c=y
     
     

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  18. “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” — Paulo Freire

    I’ve been researching and writing about the plutocrat funded 501C3 Parent Revolution from back when it was run by Ryan Smith and was called Los Angeles Parents Union. The well paid Linda Serrato, who is a recent Austin hire, insists her corporation doesn’t just represent charter interests. Let’s put that specious assertion to the test.

    During the entire existence of LAPU/Parent Revolution, there have been many local events that directly concerned both public school, and yes even charter school parents. In every case I can recall, unless the issue was directly related to increasing charter school market share, Parent Revolution was nowhere to be found. In fact last year I created a table of all the events Parent Revolution should have been involved in, but weren’t, in this extensive and authoritative biography of Mr. Ben Austin:

    Political Patronage for Green Dot Public Schools’ Chief Propagandist

    That’s twelve important education actions the millionaire attorney from Benedict Canyon and his staff could have supported! Rather than write new prose discussing the table, let me quote my same article:

    “What’s conspicuously obvious is that Austin and his henchmen only support things that increase charter market share, enable hostile takeovers of public schools, hamper organized labor, and boost the charter industry’s chances of increased profits. Forget about what’s best for the community or something that effects public schools (you know, that other 95% Dr. Shaffer was discussing above). Some child and parent advocate. Austin and his group didn’t even have the dignity and courtesy to support the Ánimo Justice community — one of their own, in their greatest time of need!”

    More to the point, Parent Revolution’s major funders, the Walton Foundation, The Broad Foundation, The Gates Foundation, and the Annenberg Foundation are the largest charter school advocates around. Do you expect any rational person to believe that they just fork over funds and then let Austin use them for an opposite agenda?

    Heck, Parent Revolution’s own website used to list all the Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) that comprised it. The sentence started “The Parent Revolution was started by a coalition of organizations, led by the Los Angeles Parents Union (LAPU).” I see that page has been deleted from the poverty pimps’ website, probably because it made it easy to identify who they actually served. Of course, I still have copies of the infamous “Annenberg Document” that outlines the entire foundation of Parent Revolution (née LAPU).

    Still want to maintain that your reactionary and divisive 501C3 isn’t in the service of the lucrative charter school industry Ms. Serrato?

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  19. @tracey douglas
    If the Hoxby report “has been widely discredited” you should have no problem citing one of those alleged discreditings.   Thanks in advance.

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  20. Amidst all of their rhetoric, Parent Trigger opponents have essentially 4 problems with this phenomenon:

    The “wrong” people are behind it  — people who are allegedly too rich, live in the wrong zip codes, have the wrong associations, etc.  The fact that a majority of parents voted for it doesn’t matter, because they were somehow bamboozled or otherwise too ignorant to know better.
    The process was wrong — it could have crossed more Ts and dotted more Is.  Almost everyone agrees that the process needs at least some improvement.  But is that really their concern?  Would any process that left genuine parent choice intact be acceptable to people who have criticized virtually every example of parent choice out there?  (Oh right.  They’re fine with the traditional form of parent choice — requiring people to move to a different district.)
    It “splits” the community — into people who want a change and people who want to continue with a status quo that has seriously underperformed for decades.  I would suggest that this “split” has always been there.  The only difference is that now we are hearing from parents — the people who want change and, incidentally, have the most at stake here.
    It lets a “private” entity (gasp!) deliver a desperately needed service — something that the presumably more publicly spirited and morally superior educrats at the district office never could manage over many years.

    The fact that Parent Trigger will allow parents to have a choice that lets them escape the clutches of their dysfunctional monopoly district really doesn’t matter to these oppoments.  They seldom try to explicitly defend the status quo — it’s simply too indefensible.  Instead, they want the public to focus solely on the 4 factors above, which are their over-riding concerns.  Fortunately, they are not going to win this struggle.  They are not going to succeed in convincing another generation of parents to forfeit their rights in deference to an under-performing educational establishment that is clearly not fulfilling its mission.

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  21. I think a lot of us have missed the point entirely.  This debate really has nothing to to with McKinley Elementary School or parent choice.  This is about whether or not the public is okay with giving away its public schools to private companies.  It is about whether schools should be run like a businesses or like a church.  Is it okay for a company to disguise itself as a grass roots organization and use the “news” to manipulate the public and parents  into thinking they are watching the next Civil Rights Movement.  I wonder what public response would have been had the news reported that there was a move to privatize public education much like our health care system.  Would people have applauded?   If the teachers are not doing there jobs at McKinley, they should be fired.  However, I am not ready to see our public schools turned over to private companies.  This model has not been successful with health care.
     

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