Parent Revolution Reaches Out to UTLA Teachers
Hillel Aron | June 4, 2013
On Sunday afternoon, around 25 classroom teachers who have been elected to represent their schools met at UTLA headquarters to discuss the contentious parent trigger petition process that’s unfolded at Weigand Elementary — and the possibility of additional trigger petitions in the future.
Parent Revolution, the non-profit that has led the organizing efforts on all signature gathering campaigns, publicly requested permission to attend the Sunday meeting and was immediately denied.
However, the nonprofit handed out flyers on Friday inviting UTLA members to come to a separate meeting later this month — and at least some teachers are planning on attending, whether they support the parent trigger approach or not.
In a letter sent to UTLA President Warren Fletcher on Friday, Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin wrote, “It has become increasingly clear over the past several months that UTLA currently sees Parent Trigger as an enormous threat and is willing to expend vast amounts of resources, time, and energy to fight parent organizing at every turn. That is obviously your prerogative, but we would like to propose a different path.”
Parent Revolution received no response from the union. However, UTLA spokesperson Suzanne Spurgeon emailed LA School Report to say, “This is a UTLA only event.”
Undaunted, Parent Revolution staffers were out in front of UTLA headquarters, handing out flyers that read, in part, “we should be actively searching for areas of common ground through dialogue between all parties.”
“There were no negative interactions,” said Parent Revolution spokesman Derrick Everett about the Friday event, noting that Fletcher himself took a flyer and “appeared to be considering it.”
The Parent Revolution flyer also invited teachers, parents and UTLA staff to a “meet and greet” on June 12 at the Golden Gopher in Downtown LA.
One teacher who does plan on attending the Parent Revolution event is UTLA area chair Ingrid Villeda, one of the more vocal critics of the Weigand trigger.
“I am going to attend,” she told LA School Report. “I’m interested in real reform. I want the best for my students.”
Villeda described the Sunday UTLA meeting “very informational” and said that the union representatives (called “chapter chairs“) heard Weigand parents discuss the trigger petition process, and shared their own concerns about the trigger.