Connecticut minority groups pushed for a parent trigger bill, which would let a majority of parents force a management change at chronically low-performing schools. Unable to kill the bill, the state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers negotiated a much weaker version — and bragged about the strategy in a presentation at the union’s annual convention. RiShawn Biddle at Dropout Nation discovered the presentation online and kept a copy of the pdf, correctly anticipating the AFT would take down the document once it was publicized.
“How Connecticut Diffused [sic] The Parent Trigger” is an “illuminating look into union cynicism and power,” editorializes the Wall Street Journal.
“Not at the table,” notes the AFT document, were “parent groups” who supported the reform. Engagement meant pressuring legislators vulnerable to union muscle. That’s most of them—and the AFT’s muscle worked.
The result was a reform in name only. Out were simple parent petition drives, in were complex “school governance councils” of parents, teachers and community leaders. Most significantly, as the AFT’s PowerPoint brags, the councils’ “name is a misnomer: they are advisory and do not have true governing authority.”