The Parent Trigger was used initially in California to convert a public school into a charter school. This campaign was led by Ben Austin who was paid by the charter school franchise Greendot as a consultant.
There was much controversy about it because parents felt they had been misled when signing petitions to make positive changes to their school, not convert it into a charter school.
That attempted takeover failed.
Two years later the Parent Revolution popped up again in Adelanto, California using the same subterfuge to convert a well-loved community school into a charter school. Again, the community was torn apart and parents wanted their signatures taken off of the petition once they understood what they had signed. After a court battle, the judged ruled that the signatures were to remain on the petition. The school will be converted into a charter school but with many families and teachers leaving in the wake of the disruption.
Both schools have many Spanish-speaking families where the parents have a minimal understanding of English. Many of us believe that the Parent Revolution felt they could easily target these communities and take advantage of parents’ lack of facility of the English language.
Now Ben Austin and his (wrecking) crew have descended onto Weigand Elementary School in Los Angeles, another minority school, and convinced parents to sign a petition to oust the principal. At this time, 21 teachers are planning to leave the school because of this. The principal and teachers were working together, creating a successful program for the students only to have the principal uprooted. Many of the teachers had followed the principal to Weigand and will now be leaving with her.
To follow are articles and posts providing information about the Parent Trigger:
According to Initiative 1240, a school doesn’t need to be “failing” to be converted into a charter school nor does the initiative require a school community to be notified of a petition being circulated. This, compared to other states, is pushing the envelope to the point that Washington State could have the most radical parent trigger law in the country.
Submitted by Dora Taylor