New parent trigger regs approved

The State Board of Education (SBE) received a standing ovation yesterday morning.  Members of the Los Angeles advocacy group Parent Revolution, wearing their matching navy tee-shirts, applauded wildly and shouted “si se puede”.

Even board member Patricia Rucker smiled.  The lobbyist for the California Teachers Association, against whom Parent Revolution has filed a conflict of interest complaint, had voted with them, giving the latest – and possibly last – revised set of parent trigger regulations a unanimous send-off by the State Board.

At the start of the meeting Rucker seemed to set a different tone when she would not recuse herself from voting on the issue saying that because “there’s no fiscal connection for her personally, the legal questions didn’t exist.”

Her yea vote, said Rucker, wasn’t an expression of support or opposition for the proposed regulations, just a nod to release them for public comment.

They’ll be put out for a 15-day public comment period, and if there are no substantively new issues raised, the regs will be sent to the Office of Administrative Law for final approval.  They won’t even need another vote by the SBE.  You can almost hear the board intoning its huzzahs.

Despite the SBE’s united front, the public comments period of the board meeting indicated that parents are still deeply divided.  Opponents raised concerns about giving charter schools too much influence and they urged the state board to make sure that all instances of parent trigger petitions are transparent.  They also continued their appeal to give teachers a significant say in whether a persistently under performing school should be closed and converted into a charter school.

To that, former State Senator Gloria Romero, author of the Parent Empowerment law, said dryly, “This is the parent trigger law, this is not the ‘parent go get a permission slip from the teacher’ law.”

Author: Kathryn Baron

Kathryn Baron, co-writer of TOP-Ed (Thoughts On Public Education in California), has been covering education in California for about 15 years; most of that time at KQED Public Radio where her reports aired on The California Report as well as various National Public Radio programs. She also wrote for magazines and newspapers before going virtual as producer and editor at The George Lucas Educational Foundation. Kathy grew up in New York in a family of teachers. She moved to California for graduate school and after spending one sunny New Year’s Day riding her bicycle in the foothills, decided to stay. She and her husband live in Belmont. They have two children, one in college and one in high school.

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