Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Use a Gun, Go to Church

The controversial and scandal plagued Parent Trigger attempt at McKinley Elementary, in Compton, may finally be resolved, but not in parents’ favor. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr has ruled that he will throw out the petitions signed by 265 parents because many failed to date their signatures, in violation of state law (See John Festerwald’s TopEd blog).

Mohr seemed saddened by his decision, as he had been pumping for parents in his previous rulings on the case. However, as a dutiful servant of the state, he acquiesced to the rule of law, telling parents he understood their frustration and thought his ruling might even be detrimental to the interests of their students. Nevertheless, parents who pulled the trigger at McKinley will still get their lovely new charter school. It will just be just housed in a local church, rather than in a public school building.

The Compton case was the first attempt at using California’s Parent Trigger law. Contrary to the claims of advocates, it was not a truly parent-initiated reform or an example of “parent power.” Rather, the “movement” was initiated by an astroturf organization known as Parent Revolution, which was funded by Eli Broad, a billionaire financier and opponent of public education, and chaired by Steve Barr, former CEO of Green Dot Public Schools, Inc. Green Dot, itself, has received funding from Broad and Bill Gates.

Parent Revolution targeted several low income communities in the Los Angeles area and went door to door to recruit parents. In other words, Parent Revolution is really more like a gang of corporate raiders than a grass roots parental choice movement. In order to obtain the necessary signatures, Parent Revolution resorted to bullying and intimidation of parents, even threatening to have immigrant parents deported if they refused to sign the petition.

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