A reader in California writes about the “parent trigger” law. It was enacted when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor and the state board of education had a majority that were charter school advocates. Its lead sponsor in the legislature ran for state superintendent, lost and is now employed by the Wall Street hedge fund managers’ group Democrats for Education Reform. The organization behind the parent trigger, Parent Revolution, is funded by Gates, Walton, and Broad Foundations. The law was enacted in California in January 2010. Since then, Parent Revolution has attempted in two districts to use the law to convert a low-performing school into a charter school. The school in Adelanto is thus far the only one to date that has gained momentum. [For a factual explanation of the parent trigger, read this summary by Parents Across America]:
The Parent Trigger Act as originally presented in California was completely based on assumptions. The definition of assumptions is: something taken for granted.
So what kinds of assumptions did former Senator Gloria Romero, members(including herself) of DFER(Democrats for Education Reform), charter offshoot Parent Revolution, and the then charter-friendly CA Board of Education make?
1. They assumed that parents in supposedly failing schools would easily fall prey to promises made by an outside astroturf group peddling the Parent Trigger mantra of instant school success.
2. They assumed that parents would be so enamored of these promises that they wouldn’t demand an open meeting that would also include teachers and administrators to discuss the pros and cons of parent takeover.
3. They assumed that once a majority of parents signed on, that the rest would happily sign on.
4. They assumed that a slew of top charters would magically appear to sweep the “failing” school off its feet.
5. They assumed that the parents would not question whether or not there is any evidence that turning a school over to a charter would produce the desired results.
6. Worst of all, the assumption was made that a Parent Trigger would create unity, not serious divisiveness amongst all involved in the school community, a consequence that would certainly seriously hamper any school improvement plan.
Is there any part of the present school reform agenda that is based on hard evidence rather than assumptions?????