Since there is no room for comments we are using Ed Notes as the vehicle for public comment every day.
Here is the link to the debate so far:
Tomorrow at 12 noon you can see the responses to each other and so on through Thursday.
See Julie nail Ben again and Caroline Grannan hit him again as he tries to get off the floor.
where parents are routinely dismissed or where their involvement is answered with condescension and suspicion—then the “parent trigger” is indeed “real parent choice” and genuinely empowering.Now we know ed deformers don't really want to empower parents and Julie exposes them:
Stating that parent choice increases involvement, let alone empowerment, is not entirely accurate. What is parent choice? Are we ensuring choices that are authentic and meaningful or are we giving the illusion of choice? What is involvement? Are we ensuring parents are given the power to demand the programs and services they want for their children or are we giving them a voice, but ignoring their choices? Parent activist Karen Harper-Royal often points out, in the world of school choice, “schools choose and parents and kids lose.”
The “parent trigger” is an illusion of choice and an impediment to empowerment. True choice and empowerment would include parents having a genuine seat at the table; preparing the menu, gathering the ingredients with administrators and educators, and together cooking the meal, setting the table, and enjoying their collaborative educational feast. Policy such as the “parent trigger” leaves parents with one option: clean up after all of the wrong ingredients have been purchased and the meal is burnt. If the goal is to cultivate parent choice and empowerment there is a simple solution: give parents what they want. In parent surveys across the country, and every year here in New York City, parents demand one reform consistently: small class size.
You go girl.
By the way, for those of you educators out there who pay lip service to parent involvement and in fact believe parents should have as little say in schools as possible (and at time in my career some thoughts have run through my head along these lines) let me say that Julie is not just blowing smoke. When she says she is passionate about empowering parents she means it - one of the most articulate spokes persons on this issue I've met - and she has influenced me. Now if you don't think Julie's position is not diametrically different from where the UFT has always come from (explaining why they are for mayoral control) you are smoking something.
Below is Caroline Grannan, an expert on the Parent Trigger responding to Boychuk's lauding McKinley as a model.
In the Compton Unified School District, where parents at McKinley Elementary petitioned to convert their school into an independent charter, a two-year state audit concluded: “[T]he focus in the district at this time is primarily on the adult issues and not on student needs. There’s a lack of civility for people in various meetings and throughout the school visits. We have evidence that adults are not being held accountable for their work nor for their ethical behavior.”
Caroline Grannan (I highlighted a key point in red)
Before even reading the debate itself, I'm responding to Manhattan Institute's introduction, which describes the Parent Trigger in its own fashion.
The legislation POSES AS empowering parents to make these changes in their school. This has not actually happened in any California schools. There is only one case in which the petition signatures have actually been presented – McKinley Elementary in Compton, CA. The petition drive was initiated and carried out not by parents but by the organization Parent Revolution, which was created by and for charter school operators. Parent Revolution selected the school to target and pre-selected the charter operator to take over the school before its paid operation approached a single McKinley parent for a signature. The signature-gathering was conducted in stealth, so that parents were unaware that they had other choices, and there was no discussion of pros and cons. Clearly, that was not a process that “empowered” parents. There have, as yet, been no other cases of completed Parent Trigger petition drives. That is the experience to date in California.
It is presumably accurate that some education professionals – as well as other advocates of public education, myself included – view the law as part of the effort to dismantle the public school system. It's not accurate or fair to use the inflammatory quote “lynch mob provision,” from a blurt by one person, and claim that “many education professionals” endorse that term.
The politics of the parent trigger are DELIBERATELY confusing, with the forces behind it making a show of portraying themselves, falsely and misleadingly, as pro-labor liberals.
Here are some responses to Ben Boychuk.He says: "...parents are the one “stakeholder” in public education without a conflict of interest...."
However, parents' interests may conflict with each other. For example, charter schools notoriously serve far fewer high-needs students – the very poor (free-lunch rather than reduced-lunch), the disabled and English-language learners. Parents whose kids don't fall into that category may be eager to charterize, but a resulting charter school is – as amply demonstrated by reality – unlikely to serve the highest-need students. No matter what the promises, charters always have found and always fill find a way to exclude and dump those students. Public schools, by contrast, must serve all students.
The notion that the Parent Trigger would increase parent involvement is questionable. At least here in California, home of the Parent Trigger, public schools are required to involved parents in school governance through School Site Councils. Admittedly, that often doesn't work effectively. However, there is no such requirement for charter schools, so parents have LESS power if the school becomes a charter. They only get a voice at all if the charter operator chooses to grant it. That's the nature of privatization.
As noted in my response to the introduction to this debate, it was not parents who attempted to use the law in Compton, Calif. The petition drive was mounted by Parent Revolution, an organization created by and for charter school operators, which pre-selected the option of charterizing and pre-selected the charter before a single parent at the school ever heard about it.
There are many reasons to oppose the Parent Trigger, starting with the fact that the notion of turning public property over to private hands based on a petition drive is problematic. It's false and misleading to claim that the only reason there's opposition is that it threatens union power.
Here are previous posts with links:
Add Your Comments at Ed Notes on Parent Trigger Online Debate at Manhattan Institute - Monday Aug. 15
Gem's Julie Cavanagh Debates Parent Trigger online this week in Manhattan Institute Sponsored Event starting Monday at 12 noon...and lasting through Thursday
I'll be out all day tomorrow through the eve at the PEP - be there or be square - so won't be able to post the links 'till late eve or Thurs AM.