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Parent Revolution announces Seth Litt as new CEO

Craig Clough | August 27, 2015

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Seth Litt

Seth Litt

Parent Revolution has announced that Seth Litt is taking over as its CEO. The news comes a full nine months after the organization’s former executive director and founder, Ben Austin, stepped down.

Parent Revolution was formed in 2009 by Austin and played a role in creating California’s “parent trigger” law. It also offers guidance and help to parent groups wanting to implement the law at their school.

Litt brings a long career in education to Parent Revolution: he was a teacher in middle school in the south Bronx, a Teach for America corps member, a union chapter leader and charter high school principal.

“I am excited to join Parent Revolution and lead the organization through its next chapter of impact for students and families,” Litt said in a statement. “Families in every community deserve more than hope or a roll of the dice – they deserve information, access to the system, and real power to make changes for their kids and their communities. For too long parents in communities like the south Bronx, south Los Angeles, and elsewhere have been on their own. They deserve the power to take action and effect change in their children’s education and lives.”

Alison Laslett, Parent Revolution’s Chief Operating Officer, has been serving as interim executive director while the board searched for a permanent replacement, a role now changed to the title of CEO.

Parent Revolution and the parent trigger law have proven to be a controversial and polarizing presence in California. Under the parent trigger law, which was passed in 2010, parents at a chronically underperforming school that meets certain criteria can call for reform if a majority of them sign a petition requesting a specific change. The changes could include converting the school into a charter school or changing the administration.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board, which originally supported the parent trigger law, recently called for an end to it, in part because it was rarely used.

“There have been only four schools in which parents filed petitions that succeeded in forcing a change. Parents at five more schools used the petition process as leverage to negotiate changes, a much less disruptive process, without ever filing an actual petition,” the Times wrote.

Undeterred, Parent Revolution has pointed to a recent California Superior Court judge’s ruling that a parent trigger campaign could move forward at an Orange County school as a victory.

The Palm Lane decision is very empowering and uplifting for all parents in California,” said Mehul Patel, communications manager for Parent Revolution, according to The Heartland Institute. “The judge’s decision to side with parents shows that justice can be on the right side.”

Writing in the Huffington Post, Austin said that LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines‘ decision not to fight the implementation of the parent trigger law in the district was a major reason he decided to step down in December.

“We have normalized the idea of parent power and institutionalized parent trigger into our legal and political framework,” Austin wrote. “That’s a paradigm shift from when we launched six years ago. It also changes the nature of our work. It’s now about long term movement and institution building. That requires a different kind of leadership.”

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