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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Parent Trigger Laws: On Screen And In The Headlines

Desert Trails elementary school parents and guardians walk to file a petition calling for their school to be converted to a charter school in 2012 in the Mojave Desert town of Adelanto, Calif. (AP)

The new film “Won’t Back Down” stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a single mom who, frustrated by her daughter’s education, leads a movement to take over the school.

The film is fiction, but “trigger laws,” which enable parents to petition to take over failing schools, are becoming a national trend and laws are on the books in seven states.

Education advocacy was also in the 2010 documentary “Waiting for Superman” and it’s not a coincidence: Both films were produced by Walden Media.


  • Stephanie Simon, National Education reporter for Reuters

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Jmradosta32

    The so-called “Parent Trigger Laws” are a way for the big money corporations behind them to convince parents that the best way to fix a school is to cede control of it to the private sector. They sell it as an act of parent empowerment. What the backers of Trigger laws leave out is that once the school is given away, there is no parent input, so whatever power parents had about curriculum, books, etc., is gone. Unfortunately, many schools suffer from a lack of parent involvement, which may make it seem to interested parents that they don’t have power – a sad downward cycle. This is part of a larger push to privatize education by suggesting against all research that the schools are failing, simply by repeating the phrase. Read Diane Ravitch’s blog, especially today’s post, about why big money wants to invest in privatizing schools. 

  • Leonie Haimson

    Please read our FAQ here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/faq-on-the-controversial-_b_1774215.html

    The parent trigger is not parent empowerment but an underhanded ruse by the charter lobby to privatize our public schools.

  • B. Goddard

    Read this statement: http://dianeravitch.net/2012/08/19/a-parents-letter-to-frank-bruni-of-the-new-york-times/.
    Bring in the practitioners, not the commentators.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kriscollett Kristin Collett

    Yes, the FAQ from Leonie Haimson on Huffington Post is an important read. Also read this article from Rethinking Schools, “Trigger Laws: Does Signing a Petition Give Parents a Voice?” http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/26_01/26_01_bacon.shtml

  • http://www.facebook.com/EducatorMusing Carlos Mendoza

    Forget the movie! The real thing is happening in Adelanto,
    California. Except it’s about bully big corporation intimidating small
    district. In Adelanto Parent Revolution and Desert Trails Parent Union had
    parents sign two different petitions. 
    They claimed that they wanted reforms – not a charter.  The 2nd petition calling for
    a charter was just for strategy to force the district to negotiate.  They, however, submitted the charter
    petition.  Many parents felt misled
    or confused by this process and asked that their names to be removed from the
    petition.  There were almost 100
    requests.  It dropped the number of
    signatures below the required amount to make the petition valid.  Judge Malone’s ruling states that the
    District is prohibited from allowing parents to revoke their signatures.  So much for parent empowerment. 


    I would like to issue a challenge.  If the issue is about
    Parent Empowerment, then I challenge Parent Revolution and the Desert Trails
    Parent Union to put it up to the parents in a secret ballot vote.  Why
    waste district funds on a lawsuit?  I contend that the district has
    complied with the reforms asked for by parents.  I accuse Parent Revolution
    of making this about what that organization wants and not what the majority of
    parents want.  Let the parents of Desert Trails Elementary School vote up
    or down in a secret ballot monitored by neutral parties the issue of a charter
    school.  I’m not afraid of the results – no matter what it may be. 
    Can Parent Revolution and the Desert Trails Parent Union say the same? Or are
    they too invested in a win that true Parent Empowerment has been dropped from
    their vocabulary?



    • Perez_fam1@hotmail.com

      Mr Carlos Mendoza aren’t u a board member president from Adelanto. I’m a parent that has kids in Adelanto. Mr Mendoza isn’t it true that Adelanto superintendent fired u and you ran for the board on the platform of firing the superintendent? Isn’t also true that out of the 13 schools in your district 12 of them are in program improvement for 5 years or more. Isn’t also true that most of your board members have sued the very district that they serve?I live in Adelanto but I my kids to an apple valley charter because my kids could not read and were already in 3rd and fifth grade. Many parents in apple valley are there to escape your district but yet I read that you lead yor board to contest the desire of your parents in Adelanto by counting rescission with no name, no signatures and fraudulent and your board already spent 150, 000 dollars to fight the parents on their vote but now u ask for a secret vote???I hope that more schools in Adelanto change so I could save gas 

  • It

    I laughed out loud every time you played that clip from the movie where the lady said “and my kid can’t read!” I would bet her kid could sing the whole spounge bob square pants song though. Teach your own kid to read. Stop looking for someone else or the government to do anything for you.

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