“No Bull’s-Eye for Parent Trigger Law”

Walt Gardner at Ed Week has some interesting thoughts in his latest post titled No Bull’s-Eye for Parent Trigger Law (I’ve written many times about my concerns regarding a “parent trigger” made into law here in California. Using a petition drive, schools can be converted into charters).

Here are some excerpts:

Supporters of the law are not sure how to read the less than enthusiastic response so far. It’s hard to disentangle genuine parent concern from outside pressure from charter groups. Parent Revolution, which was responsible for the Parent Trigger law, is not a parent group, despite its name. It’s essentially Green Dot public schools, the large charter management organization. As a result, there is rightful skepticism about conflict of interest.

Later, he writes:

All that is known to date is that most parents in California have been indifferent. However the Parent Trigger Law ultimately plays out there, I don’t think it will make much of a difference in improving schools. There are still too many factors that account for educational quality beyond the control of even the best teachers.

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One thought on ““No Bull’s-Eye for Parent Trigger Law”

  1. Reposting my response to Walt Gardner’s comment on the Parent Trigger:

    There are some fine points about the Parent Trigger law that should be added here.

    The voters who get to decide on the proposal to wreak whatever-it-is on a school are actually not limited to current parents at the school, and apparently the definition of who has a vote is nebulous.

    At one L.A.-area school that’s currently being touted as the current battlefield — Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland — the angry activist behind the Parent Trigger is actually a FORMER parent at the school. She said in a discussion on the Silicon Valley Education Foundation site http://www.educatedguess.org that she’ s not trying to shut down or charterize the school but just get rid of the principal — apparently there’s lingering bad blood.

    This gives a view of the potential uses of this law.

    You can also get an inkling of the implications, if the pool of voters is nebulous. If former parents at the school have a vote, does this mean all parents who ever had a child go through the school at any time, for example? As I understand it, it’s also not clear how many voters per family. These elections could get pretty wild.

    In a situation where there was a heated controversy, you can imagine that these issues would become important and explosive — not to mention the general potential for divisiveness, anger, confrontation, intimidation, bribes etc. (In another L.A. school trigger situation — Garfield High in East L.A. — there already are rampant reports of small bribes — fast food gift cards — for signatures. True or not, these reports are inevitable, giving another view of why this law is problematic.)

    In real life, how many parents are actually likely to vote to dismantle their child’s school in favor of a completely unknown outcome?

    The law would appear to allow pretty much anyone who happens to pass by the school to vote, which might leave things wide open for any old body to decide to start a movement to demolish a public school. In reality, the charter operators who are behind this law are likely to be rethinking whether hostile takeovers by outsiders are really that good an idea. When school communities resist the hostile takeover bid, the potential for seriously devastating PR is likely to make even the most ultra-confident charter operator a bit wary.
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