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Parent Trigger Expansion Faces Union Opposition

Samantha Oltman | April 17, 2013

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Senator Bob Huff

A bill sponsored by State Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) that would expand the current “parent trigger” law to include more of California’s lowest performing schools was scheduled for a hearing by the Assembly Education Committee earlier today.

The current 2010 version of the law has a cap limiting parent trigger takeovers to 75 schools in the state, notes SI&A Cabinet Report.

But the Huff proposal, SB 452, is facing heavy opposition from the state’s largest teachers union, the California Teachers Association. CTA spokesperson Frank Wells told LA School Report that expanding parent trigger “in its current form is a bad idea because the law is deeply flawed.”

“The places where we’ve seen [parent trigger] implemented, we’ve seen major division created among parents,” Wells said, pointing to the parent trigger process at Adelanto and Compton as examples.

When asked about reports of parent trigger success, as seen during the recent trigger overhaul at 24th Street Elementary in LAUSD, Wells responded, “I think we need to see final outcome there. I don’t know if there were conflicts or allegations of misrepresentation.”

Given opposition from CTA, the Huff effort to expand the parent trigger faces an uphill climb.  “Unfortunately, whatever the CTA says seems to go with education policies in California,” said Huff’s Communications Director Bill Bird.

“Conditions in the Capitol are significantly different today than four years ago,” notes SI&A Cabinet Report, alluding to a time when Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was still in office and hard-charting reformers included Democrats such as Gloria Romero.

Closer to home, the LAUSD School Board approved the parent trigger agreement for 24th Street Elementary School yesterday, 5-1 (with Board member Steve Zimmer abstaining).  United Teachers of Los Angeles officials were present during the Board meeting but did not speak out for or against the decision.

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