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Previewing Tomorrow’s Parent Trigger

Hillel Aron | January 16, 2013

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Parent Revolution has a big day planned for tomorrow, when they along with parents of 24th St. Elementary plan on dropping off their parent trigger petition, the first ever inside of LAUSD (see: Parent Trigger Coming to LAUSD).

How closely this latest example of the trigger process will resemble or differ from previous instances in Compton and Adelanto remains unclear at this very early stage.

One interesting difference is that in 2009 LAUSD passed its own version of the trigger as part of the original Public School Choice initiative.

Read below for some early clues about how the district leadership, School Board members, and teachers union may react.

Superintendent Deasy

So far, district officials are keeping a wait-and-see attitude on whether or not they fully support the effort.

Superintendent John Deasy told LA School Report he wouldn’t comment until he’d read the petition, although he said he was generally in favor of parent involvement and school choice.

The LA Weekly points out that in his previous job Deasy worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports the trigger approach.

Board Members

Board member Steve Zimmer also said he was waiting to see read the petition, but admitted some concerns about the school: “I certainly understand that there are very real concerns at 24th Street… so the district needs to look at those problems immediately, no matter who’s organizing.”

LAUSD first passed rules allowing parent trigger petitions in 2009 as part of the original Public School Choice initiative, under Deasy’s predecessor, Ramon Cortines. (see EdWeekL.A. Gives Parents ‘Trigger’ to Restructure Schools.)

The Teachers Union

The Hechinger Report quotes UTLA Vice President Juan Ramirez expressing reservations similar to those heard in Adelanto and Compton.  “The concern we have is that sometimes the parents are misled and [Parent Revolution] doesn’t explain to them the whole issue of this parent trigger law.”

Ramirez is also quoted complaining about the trigger’s impact on teachers.  “Many teachers also feel threatened because the outside operators, they want to fix schools on their own terms, and I think that’s where the problems start.”

Three years ago, former UTLA President AJ Duffy described the Cortines version of the trigger as a measure that could lead to “an education disaster in Los Angeles, the likes of which nobody can imagine seeing.” (see EdWeekL.A. Gives Parents ‘Trigger’ to Restructure Schools.)

What Happens Next

Like previous examples, the trigger petition being delivered tomorrow offers a number of options and doesn’t necessarily require the district to convert the school into a charter.

Tomorrow, at 8:30 am, parents will hold a rally at 24th St. Park in West Adams. They will then head to LA Unified headquarters to deliver the petition at around 9:40. Then they’ll return back to the park for a “community celebration.” (Read full press release here.)

Previous posts: Parent Trigger Coming to LAUSDMayor Touts Parent TriggerParent Trigger Swirls Around LAUSDTriggering LAUSD?You Say You Want a Revolution

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