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?


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