Caroline Grannan wrote the fact sheet about the parent trigger for Parents Across America. Here she explains more about what is happening now in the Adelanto School District, where Parent Revolution is leading the effort to convert Desert Trails Elementary School into a charter school.

The ultimate question is whether the way to repair a struggling school is to attack its teachers and attempt to turn it over to corporate privatizers. (I don’t use the term “failing school,” which heartlessly brands the students and the rest of the school community as failing.) The concept is that we must destroy the school in order to save it.

In fact, as anyone informed knows, the Adelanto school district had just put a new principal in place at Desert Trails, and parents have been pleased with him.

Charter schools overall have a worse record than comparable public schools, and “takeover” charters, in which an operator steps into an existing struggling school, have an exceptionally dismal record. There have been no successful parent triggers anywhere. Why would someone want to inflict a “solution” that has no track record of success on an already challenged school community?

For those who are sincere about believing this is a good idea (I don’t harbor any illusion that anyone within Parent Revolution is sincere about that; they are simply trying to keep the funding coming in), the concept behind that is that the school is such a disaster that something, anything, must be done, no matter what. Would you apply that thinking to a medical crisis — randomly start removing organs, even with a record of failure in past organ removals?

Many parents at Desert Trails are pleased with and hopeful about their school, though the press is so bought into the parent trigger that only the small number of Parent Revolution loyalists get attention.

Parent Revolution’s hostility to teachers also demonstrates how doomed their approach is, should anyone be gullible enough to believe their efforts are sincere. Waging war on teachers is not the way to repair a broken school; teachers must be partners. “You can’t win a war by firing on your own troops,” as Diane Ravitch has said.

Here’s a great article on the heart and soul of a school that would appear to be “failing” based strictly on flinty-eyed data:
http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/08/mission-high-false-low-performing-school

And here’s what education scholar Richard Rothstein has said about the concept that we must destroy America’s schools in order to save them:

“A belief in decline has led to irresponsibility in school reform. Policymakers who believed they could do no harm because American schools were already in a state of collapse have imposed radical reforms without careful consideration of possible unintended adverse consequences. …
“I do not suggest that American schools are adequate, that American students’ level of achievement in math and reading is where it should be, that American schools have been improving as rapidly as they should, or that the achievement gap is narrowing to the extent needed to give us any satisfaction. I only suggest that we should approach fixing a system differently if we believe its outcomes are slowly improving than if we believe it is collapsing.”

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2008/04/07/richard-rothstein/a-nation-at-risk-twenty-five-years-later/