Russ Conway is longtime RIFuture blogger and a proud Providence Geek. Russ works in healthcare IT and loves data. When not grousing about progressive issues, Russ is an avid angler and open water swimmer/triathlete.

4 responses to “ALEC’s Parent Trigger Laws”

  1. Pat Crowley

    Key line in the story you linked to Russ:

     “Though it has not yet been shown to work, parent trigger has support from many of the big players seeking to inject more free-market competition into public education, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.”

    So who cares if it works….this is about politics and power.  We have two parties that refuse to challenge to status quo of monied special interests. 

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  2. Pat Crowley

    and in case you don’t subscribe to Diane Ravitch’s great education blog, she wrote about this very subject, with a Rhode Island connection this morning:


    Beware! Sneaky Reformer Trick in L.A.
    by dianerav

    On August 14, there will be a benefit concert in Los Angeles to “honor” teachers.
    The concert is a promotion for a new “Superman”-style film that vilifies public schools and promotes privatization.
    The film celebrates the “parent trigger” law, which gives parents the power to seize control of their school, fire the staff, and turn it over to a charter chain. The parent trigger was promoted by charter advocates and billionaire foundations Broad, Gates, and Walton.
    Strange way to “honor” teachers–by firing them and giving the school to a non-union private entity to manage, which may hire only young teachers willing to work a 50-60 hour week at low wages. More “honors” like this and there won’t be a teaching profession in America, just teaching temps.
    The concert is sponsored by Walmart (the Walton family) and Walden Media. The Walton Family Foundation gave out $159 million last year for charters and vouchers.
    Walden Media was one of the producers of “Waiting for ‘Superman.'” Billionaire Philip Anschutz, who owns Walden Media, funds rightwing groups, is anti-environment and bankrolled anti-gay referenda.
    It’s sad to see Viola Davis involved in this sneaky push for privatization. I remember when she won the Academy Award in 2010 and announced that she was proud to be a graduate of Central Falls High School, right at the time that all the corporate reformers were gloating about the threat to shut it down.

    dianerav | July 30, 2012 at 6:22 am

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  3. tom_hoffman

    A parent trigger would require some more extensive changes to RI charter law:

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  4. Aaron Regunberg

    Hey all, and thanks Russ for linking to the piece I wrote about this issue:

    I mostly agree with Ravitch’s 51% logic, but honestly, I don’t think it’s the biggest problem with the parent trigger. In my mind, public schools should, to a significant degree, belong to the parents (as well as teachers and students) involved in the school, and so I don’t think the issue is that it’s bad to be giving them control of their schools.

    To me, the problem is that parent trigger laws don’t actually give parents any real control of their schools. They simply open up a hole where charter operators can pour their money into non-legitimate astroturf organizing that is fertile ground for fraud and manipulation. And I think the best way to show the dishonesty of their claims of being about parental empowerment is to ask why they don’t call for more parental involvement than simply signing their name.


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