This is testimony delivered by a parent to the Los Angeles school board, as they debated whether to create new rules governing the “parent trigger” takeover process. She asked the school board to guarantee a fair process that protects parents against manipulation and exploitation.
This is what she said:
My name is Raquel Cedillo and I am a parent of 3 students currently enrolled at Haddon Elementary. I am here to ask that you please set forth guidelines in regards to the Parent Trigger Law and how organizations such as Parent Revolution collect signatures.
At Haddon Elementary, parents have been misled and lied to. Representatives from the parent union went door to door asking parents to sign their petition. Parents were told it was to better the school and every student would get a lap top. Parents were also told that all the teachers and the principal were supporting this change. I know this because this is what I was told when they came knocking on my door. They came three times in one week trying to convince my mother to get me to sign the petition. They were persistent. Is this how they obtained most of their signatures? Pressuring parents? Some parents did not realize by signing this petition, they were signing to change our school to a charter. Parents were not given all the facts!
At 24th street and Weigand Elementary, were parents given all the facts? Was there a public meeting informing all parents about the Parent Trigger law and what was happening at their school? The answer is NO. In Adelanto, Parent Revolution had two petitions circulating, one asking for school reform and another asking to change the school to Charter. Parents didn’t know which was going to be used until it was too late and the petition was submitted to the District. So basically, Parent Revolution is asking for parents to sign a blank check and cross their fingers and hope for the best….is that true parent empowerment? NO it’s not. Parents have the right to hear from both sides about what is going on, so they can get the facts and be able to make an educated choice, and parents need a public place in which to do this like at the school.
Parent Revolution has been involved in our school for over two and a half years. This is the longest by far a school has been involved in a parent trigger campaign. Adelanto, 24th Street and Weigand were changed rather quickly. I was once asked by David Goldberg, CTA Director, “What is the difference with Haddon?” Well the difference is Haddon’s parent involvement. Haddon has a core group of parents who have taken it upon themselves to inform parents about what is going on at our school. Parents have passed out fliers, talked with other parents and even had rallies to inform parents about these petitions and not to sign them before knowing all the facts. This is true parent empowerment Involving ALL parents in making choices pertaining to their children’s school.
Over the last two and a half years Haddon parents have had to put up with so much from Parent Revolution and its organizers. Haddon has two Parent Revolution organizers who attend almost every school meeting/function. These organizers are NOT parents or even community members. These organizers are the masters and Haddon’s parent union are the puppets. At these school meetings such as SSC or coffee with the principal, parent union parents do not ask questions or make any move without these two organizers telling them what to do or what to say. Some of these members of the parent union do not even have students who attend Haddon. So how are they a part of the parent union? Are these the same parents collecting signatures, under false representation as parents of Haddon? Who verifies how these signatures are collected? Who verifies what was said to parents while collecting signatures? Where were these signatures collected? Some parents informed me they were asked to sign a petition when leaving a grocery store, while walking through the neighborhood, on the school campus, in front of the school, or at church. Is this how Parent Revolution conducts business? Catching people off guard? Parents were not given all the facts when asked to sign these petitions. I have some parents who said they signed without really understanding what this petition really meant. There are parents who now want to rescind their signatures after getting all the facts and now understanding what this petition can do to their school. How is this process handled? Parents want to rescind their signatures before it’s too late. This didn’t have to happen if guidelines were set up and parents were informed from the start.
A recent article on June 3rd in the L.A. Times was titled the “Parent Trigger Trap.” This is exactly what it is- a trap!! Not all parents are being informed about what is happening at their children’s school. Parents are not given the facts from both sides before signing the petition. Also if parents sign the petition then they agree with changing the school. If parents don’t sign, when and if the school is changed , those parents no longer have a voice or vote . How is that parent empowerment? Parents are forced between a rock and a hard place. This also needs to be changed. Parents who don’t sign need to have a voice or vote about what happens at their child’s school. It’s like parents lose their rights if they don’t agree with the petition or Parent Revolution.
So as a parent I am asking that you, the school district, please implement rules and guidelines in which outside organizations such as Parent Revolution must follow when proceeding with a parent trigger campaign.