Monday, January 31, 2011

Parent Revolution’s press release

Here's an excerpt from Parent Revolution's press release (full text at link below):


On Wednesday, January 19, Compton Unified School District (CUSD) outlined an unprecedented and illegal process to "verify" the over 270 Parent Trigger signatures at McKinley Elementary school.


After six weeks of silence and inaction, Compton Unified has finally decided that rather than actually verifying whether sufficient valid petitions have been submitted as required by law, essentially shredding the petitions and inventing a whole new law. Every parent who wants change at McKinley must now show up at the school on either Wednesday or Thursday of next week, endure a mysterious five-minute interview with district employees, and declare their support in this interview for change. In addition, they must present photo identification at this interview, a requirement that even supersedes the requirements to participate in state and federal elections in California and would undoubtedly have a chilling effect on a community of people of color and immigrants.


Any parent who is unable or unwilling to complete this process for any reason — such as being sick or unable to get out of work on such short notice — will no longer be able to count towards the 61% of parents who have demanded change under the Parent Trigger law, regardless of whether they have already met the legal requirements to do so under the Parent Trigger and the State Board emergency regulations that are already in place.  Parent Revolution and McKinley Parents for Change denounced this tactic as an unethical, illegal tactic that discards the entire Parent Trigger process and months of parent organizing.


"I'm not going to waste my time," Ismenia Guzman, a parent at McKinley Elementary said. "I signed my petition, and that's what I want, and there's nothing they can do.  This is clearly not about 'verifying' anything – it is about the district making up new rules to try to throw away the petitions that we have already submitted.  Every part of this process – the late notice, the narrow window of time, and the requirement for photo identification – indicate that the primary purpose is simply to take away our rights, and we will not stand for it."


…Background: The Parent Trigger Law was passed last year in California and states that if a majority of parents at a failing school signs a petition, they are able to change the school's administration, shut down the school, or have the school replaced by a charter school. On December 7, 2010, McKinley Elementary parents presented the Parent Trigger petition that included over 260 (61%) signatures to CUSD. Since then, five weeks passed without any response from CUSD board members or representatives, despite repeated requests for meetings from McKinley Elementary parents. During this time, CUSD employees have been accused of harassment and intimidation. These complaints were filed with CUSD who have, to date, never acknowledged or responded to the complaints.


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