National Union Announces Friday Press Event & Grant
Samantha Oltman | February 7, 2013
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten is scheduled to hold a Friday, February 8 press conference at Woodland Hills Academy to announce a $150,000 grant to the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).
The grant is aimed at helping teachers create strong school improvement plans and prevent the need for any additional “parent trigger” actions in LAUSD.
Weingarten’s appearance signals the importance of UTLA and the parent trigger issue to the national union.
The event will also serve as a media opportunity for Westside District 4 School Board incumbent Steve Zimmer, who is scheduled to appear along with UTLA President Warren Fletcher. UTLA has endorsed ZImmer and its independent expenditure committee has requested campaign funding from the AFT.
According to a press advisory issued Wednesday, the AFT grant will provide UTLA with the funding to help LA teachers write school improvement plans that could help avoid potential parent trigger actions like the one that occurred last month at LAUSD’s 24th St. Elementary School. “The funding will be used to create a training program to help teachers write school plans and prepare school improvement teams.”
AFT is holding the press conference at Woodland Hills Academy because back in 2006 it was the first school to operate under the Expanded School-Based Management Model (ESBMM), one of three different school autonomy models that teachers can opt into becoming when writing school improvement plans. “This school stands in stark contrast to the parent-trigger petition effort at 24th Street Elementary School,” notes the AFT advisory.
According to Parent Revolution head Ben Austin, the union would do better to focus more closely on the trigger process already underway at 24th Street Elementary. “UTLA and AFT need to work with the district to craft a proposal that’s better than a bunch of high quality charter school proposals.”