Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Parent Trigger in California

The latest disgraceful development in California re the parent trigger (from Ben Austin):

The entire California political world was buzzing yesterday about the 60+ brave and passionate parents that drove all night in a packed bus to speak to the State Board of Education and demand that they finalize fair, pro-parent implementing regulations for the Parent Trigger law. These parents made emotional pleas requesting that the Board ensure that any permanent regulations empower parents, not district bureaucrats or Sacramento lobbyists.

Fox News 11 captured how emotional and gripping the parents were, as one by one they went in front of the board and gave moving testimony about their plans to use the Parent Trigger to finally obtain a great school for their children.

Unfortunately, as writer John Fensterwald noted,  their dreams "ran into Sacramento reality."

As the LA Times reported, rather than listening to parents, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson decided "to put the brakes on a landmark law that gives parents the right to force major reforms at low-performing schools."  That's right – after an hour of moving testimony from parents, the bureaucrats at the Department of Education announced that it is just too difficult to write implementing regulations under the current law, and that they were instead going to try to change the law itself.

Even worse, the LA Weekly noted that Torlakson specifically turned to Assemblymember Julia Brownley – last seen leading the charge against passage of the Parent Trigger law over a year ago – to "clean up" the law.


After eight months of work on these critical regulations – including four different votes, three different drafts, and two public comment periods - and getting within just inches from the finish line, state bureaucrats are now, all of a sudden, going to throw out the entire eight month process and turn to one of the law's biggest opponents to "fix" it?  And this coming from the State Superintendent who also voted against the law when he was in the legislature and opposes it to this day?

It is pretty obvious to anyone who is paying attention what is going on here - this is nothing more than a naked effort to roll back or repeal the entire Parent Trigger law under the guise of "fixing" it.

We know that special interest lobbyists will be swarming the capital to try to pass this "roll back or repeal" law, just as they tried to stop the Parent Trigger from ever passing in the first place.  But I can promise you this - parents across California will not stand for this blatant attempt to roll back or repeal one of the only rights they have to obtain a better school for their children.  We will surely be back in Sacramento soon – and I guarantee you we will be riding a lot more than "just" one bus.

- Ben

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