I am not going to write anything substantive about the movie celebrating the so-called “parent trigger” until I have seen it.
But the stories about it continue to miss the point about why parents and teachers think it is a corporate-conceived and corporate-driven idea, for the benefit of corporate charter chains. Why not mention the Florida parents’ fight to stop this so-called “parent empowerment”? If it really empowered parents, why did parents oppose it?
Here is the latest example. Frank Bruni, usually a thoughtful writer, has an article in today’s New York Times. He sees the movie as part of the ongoing (and at least partially justified) critique of teachers unions. He never mentions that the two states that enthusiastically endorsed parent trigger laws (after California did it first, during the Schwarzenegger years), are right-to-work states, Texas and Mississippi. Nor did he mention the role of the rightwing group ALEC in promoting the trigger idea as a way to hasten the privatization of public education.
Instead he sees it as a righteous plea for better schools (the cloak that reformers always wear as they set out to privatize your schools). That’s exactly what the producers are hoping for, to pull the wool over people’s eyes to their privatization agenda with a soap opera set in a public school.
The tipoff is the ending quote, which is from Joe Williams, the executive director of the falsely named Democrats for Education Reform. DFER is the organization of the Wall Street hedge fund managers. Joe, a nice guy, was formerly a beat reporter for the New York Daily News.
Why did Bruni end up parroting DFER? The hedge fund mangers are not education experts; they are not teachers or principals. They send their children to Andover, Exeter, Lakeside Academy, Trinity, St. Bernard’s, Deerfield Academy and Sidwell Friends. These schools don’t evaluate their teachers by standardized test scores. Why does the parent trigger lead us right back to all the other bad ideas propounded by these out of touch reformers?