By GLORIA ROMERO / Staff Columnist Orange County Register | http://bit.ly/1pHb0jh
DAMIAN DOVARGANES, DAMIAN DOVARGANES, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Aug. 18, 2014 Updated: 4:24 p.m. :: The “Parent Trigger” law I wrote in 2010, to empower parents to make sweeping changes in failing schools, has been deemed no longer available for parents to use in several California districts, including Los Angeles Unified. Under the law, if 50 percent of the parents sign a petition to choose a transformative option at a chronically underperforming school deemed eligible for transformation, the change can take effect.
It’s an empowering law, declaring a philosophical belief that parents should be the architects of their children’s educational futures, and that kids should not be left to languish in failing schools.
How could a California law, enacted by a majority of the Legislature, have just been vanquished? Why were the public – and legislators – not told, allowing us to immediately challenge the legality of that action? Even more stunning, I discovered that this decision had been made nine months ago, but had been kept quiet.
I learned about this during a meeting to discuss upcoming actions of my newly founded California Center for Parent Empowerment, and LAUSD lawyers mentioned that the Parent Trigger law could no longer be used in the district due to a waiver it received last year regarding federal educational requirements. The waiver, according to the counsel, enables not only LAUSD, but other “reform” districts to bypass the law.
Immediately objecting to their interpretation, I demanded a written legal explanation, and on Aug. 13, they wrote, “[Y]ou inquired as to the District’s position on whether the Parent Trigger option is currently available to district parents … . [T]he district’s position is that it is not.”
Their denial is based on the federal waiver, combined with last year’s passage of Assembly Bill 484, replacing the STAR testing program with a new state testing assessment system that put an end to schools receiving Academic Performance Index scores. They opine, “Through the CORE waiver, LAUSD schools are relieved from the requirement to take correction actions pursuant to … [federal laws]. Therefore, LAUSD does not have any school subject to corrective action … which is a requirement for a school to be ‘triggered’ under the … Act.”
With a signature, the right of parents to enact change was erased. While Supt. John Deasy articulated his support for the law, the district’s actions nullify it. Is their position legal? I have asked state counsel to pursue a legislative ruling. Other CORE school districts impacted are in Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Francisco, Oakland, Fresno, Sanger and Sacramento City.
Meanwhile, troubling questions abound: Who knew about this, and when did they know it? Why the silence? Sadly, even Parent Revolution, a nonprofit that has organized parents to use the law, remained silent. A letter from their director to LAUSD written last November – nine months ago – while disagreeing with the district’s position, acknowledges silence: “You stated that LAUSD would not go public with this position, but that when parents do exercise their rights under the law, LAUSD would, at that time, invalidate that petition on the basis that the district is not subject to state law.”
Why keep quiet? Essentially, the revolution would not be televised, the public kept in the dark. They knew of the invalidation even when Parent Revolution and LAUSD jointly proclaimed that parents had “averted” having to use the law and securing $300,000 to hire more adults at the school. Was this a fake – an Argo-ized production?
Corruption runs rampant when government hides the truth. We should all be outraged by the suppression of truth. At least now we know.
Gloria Romero’s other claim to Education ®eform Immortality, AB1381 didn't work out all that well either, being declared unconstitutional by the Superior Court, the Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court. The two laws are polar opposites, one puts all power in the hands of the mayor the city of Los Angeles, the other in the hands of parents. Not all parents, mind you - only those parents who signed the petition. The petition that can be secretly circulated. And you’re not allowed to un-sign the petition.
Gloria, now a columnist for the OC Register wraps herself in the ®eform agenda again.and pretends outrage as other ®eformers (ie: John Deasy) repudiate the law she wrote that only benefits one organization: Parent ®evolution – an unholy owned subsidiary of The LA Parents Union– itself an offshoot of Green Dot Public Schools.
Another (and far more interesting) article in the same issue of OCR asks Have Badgers have returned to Orange County? Don’t badgers, like ®eformers, eat their young?