Putting Education Reform To The Test

Organizing Parent ‘Unions’

Parent Revolution

Parent Revolution is organizing parents to demand public school reforms.

Parents unhappy with their children’s schools are using labor union tactics to build support for charter schools, according to a story by the Associated Press.

California was the first state to adopt a so-called ‘parent trigger’ law, which allows a majority of parents to vote to convert a district school to a charter school. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is considering a similar law, according to his draft legislative agenda.

Movement leaders argue a parent’s first concern is his or her child:

Behind the parent empowerment movement is a feisty Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Parent Revolution, which in 2010 pushed through a landmark law giving parents authority to force turnarounds at failing schools through a petition.

Known as the “parent trigger,” the California law was the first of its kind in the nation. It inspired Texas and Mississippi to adopt similar laws and legislation is under consideration in 20 other states. Two states have voted down parent trigger bills.

“Parents have a different incentive structure than anyone else,” said Ben Austin, Parent Revolution’s executive director. “They’re the only ones who really care about kids.”

Parent Revolution also has the backing of the Gates Foundation, which has poured billions into education reform efforts. The foundation has given a $100 million grant to Hillsborough County to design a teacher evaluation and merit pay system.

What’s your view of groups such as Parent Revolution? Do you support a ‘parent trigger’ law in Florida? Do parents always know best when it comes to schooling?


  • Maggiefishman

    Unfortuantely, genuine concerns of parents aboutg their child’s schools are being preyed upon by large corporations who want to sell them an answer to their problems in the form of the charter schools they are investing in. Parents are busy with work and family and don’t always have the time to do full research as to the causes and best solutions for what is wrong with the school system.

    A revolution might suggest seizing the power, but it is not the parents ultimately who will have more power over their children’s education, but big corporations with very limited public control.

    Parent Revolution is suggesting charter schools as a radical change, but really they are consolidating public interests – the education of the next generation – into private hands where parents will have even less say. They are letting the very rich make the contorlling decisions about education by handing the schools over to them, and to profit motives.

    let’s have a genuine parent revolution, where parents look at a range of responses to their dissatisfactions, not the interests of a corporate lobby.

    Maggie Fishman
    Public School Parent

  • Mac OntheRock

    I sorry but this article is not acurate erroneuos. California is not the first state to have a parent trigger law unless it was passed before 2004. Florida law is not petition based and does not wait for diaganosis that a school is failing. Why wait? Students deserve better. Parent have an obligation to fix their children school. So call for a vote and amend the law 1002.33 3 (b) next legeslative session. We set the legal precedent at the KB K8 Center in Key Biscayne Florida . “A” school that was overcrowded by 137% of capacity and dilapidated and below flood criteria for a barrier island. On March the 1 were defeated by the teacher voting 100% NO. The truth is the law is flawed because of a quorim rule that give teachers veto power as they vote separate ballot. Both groups must get 51% in the affirmative. What US President has been elected this way? None. It is very Un-American Law that is really a Teacher’s empowerment law. Case in point Rowlett Elementary won hugh victory as the first district school convert both Parents and Teacher voted YES!!!. It also was an A School. To fix public education you must reinvent not reform it. The answer is The “Governing School” we proposed with our amendment language. This way there is no privatization just parent guardians of the budget on County Property. No profit just surpluses reinvest back into the school yearly. Change we can Relieve In. ó

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