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Commentary: Sad Educators vs. Poor Parents

Alexander Russo | May 29, 2013

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Parent trigger options (via StudentsFirst)

The latest LA Times piece on the parent trigger process at Weigand Elementary focuses its attention on the principal being pushed out (and the teachers who may go with her) rather than on the dismal results under her leadership and the frustrated low-income parents who petitioned for her removal.

The debate over the merits of the Weigand petition have gone national, in the form of dueling blog posts between two education pundits, Brooklyn-based NYU historian Diane Ravitch and Washington, DC-based Rick Hess.

A former Bush administration education official who has since switched views on school reform, Ravitch wrote two blog posts deploring the outcome of the process this past weekend.  In response, right-leaning American Enterprise Institute education guru Hess wrote that — while he’s long been a Ravitch admirer and has questions about the trigger method of revamping schools — Ravitch was all wrong to call Parent Revolution “revolting” and Parent Revolution’s Ben Austin as “loathsome.”

As to the parents’ desire for speedy change at Weigand, Hess notes that, “despite [Principal] Cobian’s apparent popularity with the current staff, she has not been able to make a difference during nearly a half-decade as principal.”

Given how they’re being treated in the Times and by Ravitch (and by the teachers who appear to be more loyal to the principal than to the kids), the Weigand parents may be well be wishing that they’d opted for restaffing (Option A), or a charter conversion (Option C), instead of merely demanding a principal who could be responsive and effective for their children (Option B).

Meantime, UTLA is hosting a meeting this weekend to help prepare union representatives at other LAUSD schools where parents are similarly (or even more) frustrated than those at Weigand.

Previous commentary and analysis (including guest commentaries): Why Your Vote Matters in the East ValleyIn Praise of the LA Times’ Karin KleinClear Choice for School Board RaceLessons from San Diego “A Dangerous Game for UTLA”Board Candidate Changes Position on Deasy (Again)

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