State board may weaken ‘parent trigger’

California’s parent trigger law, which lets parents petition for changes at their children’s low-performing school, may be weakened, reports the LA Times. The 2009 Parent Empowerment law left the details of implementation to the state board of education, which held a meeting this week to discuss regulations on issues such as who counts as a parent and whether petition drives must be publicized. Instead of adopting the proposals drafted last year, the new board will “start from scratch with more input from interest groups,” reports the Sacramento Bee. The board set up a working group of “stakeholders” that includes opponents of the parent trigger to make recommendations in March.

In the first use of the parent trigger, Compton parents have petitioned to turn a chronically low-performing elementary school into a charter run by a local network with a record of success. More than 60 Compton parents drove to Sacramento to testify at the board hearing.

State education officials announced they are working on “cleanup” legislation with Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), who last year voted against the bill including the parent trigger.

“This is clearly nothing more than an attempt to repeal the law,” said Gabe Rose, deputy director of Parent Revolution, which organized the first parent-trigger petition drive.  Ben Austin, executive director of the group, lost his seat on the state education board when Gov. Jerry Brown took office. Brown, who was backed by the teachers’ union,  replaced five charter-friendly board members with a less reform-oriented group. One of the new board members is a lobbyist for the California Teachers Association.

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