Commentary: Sad Educators vs. Poor Parents

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Parent trigger options (via StudentsFirst)

The latest LA Times piece on the parent trigger process at Weigand Elementary focuses its attention on the principal being pushed out (and the teachers who may go with her) rather than on the dismal results under her leadership and the frustrated low-income parents who petitioned for her removal.

The debate over the merits of the Weigand petition have gone national, in the form of dueling blog posts between two education pundits, Brooklyn-based NYU historian Diane Ravitch and Washington, DC-based Rick Hess.

A former Bush administration education official who has since switched views on school reform, Ravitch wrote two blog posts deploring the outcome of the process this past weekend.  In response, right-leaning American Enterprise Institute education guru Hess wrote that — while he’s long been a Ravitch admirer and has questions about the trigger method of revamping schools — Ravitch was all wrong to call Parent Revolution “revolting” and Parent Revolution’s Ben Austin as “loathsome.”

As to the parents’ desire for speedy change at Weigand, Hess notes that, “despite [Principal] Cobian’s apparent popularity with the current staff, she has not been able to make a difference during nearly a half-decade as principal.”

Given how they’re being treated in the Times and by Ravitch (and by the teachers who appear to be more loyal to the principal than to the kids), the Weigand parents may be well be wishing that they’d opted for restaffing (Option A), or a charter conversion (Option C), instead of merely demanding a principal who could be responsive and effective for their children (Option B).

Meantime, UTLA is hosting a meeting this weekend to help prepare union representatives at other LAUSD schools where parents are similarly (or even more) frustrated than those at Weigand.

Previous commentary and analysis (including guest commentaries): Why Your Vote Matters in the East ValleyIn Praise of the LA Times’ Karin KleinClear Choice for School Board RaceLessons from San Diego “A Dangerous Game for UTLA”Board Candidate Changes Position on Deasy (Again)

  • Jose Leon

    I teach at the school and the Principal has not been there five years. And we the Teachers do favor our Principal because she is in it because of her heart and expertise in reading and writing. We love our students and the change we strive for in a community that needs us the most. WE are there because we chose to be the catalyst not a whiner and someone who is not in the trenches for change. Its challenging but we are dedicated, you should actually do your homework. Weigand is on the way up and if you bothered to check you’d noticed how Parent Revolution has no plan but to remove a principal……that school has had that done an in the last fifteen years Im sure that has not raised test scores.Parent Revolution gladly will use our plan eventhough the main author is the curent Principal!. Wow talk about hipocracy. It takes a village to improve our schools and honesty from all stakeholders is the painful way to go about it. Not just disenfranchised parents…..all parents. When all parents have a voice and its genuine I will gladly welcome that revolution.

  • Robert D. Skeels

    Always good to see Mr. Russo siding with wealthy and powerful against working class communities of color.

    His heavy handed, and completely mendacious, “teachers who appear to be more loyal to the principal than to the kids” didn’t escape notice.

    http://atthechalkface.com/2013/05/30/alexander-russos-vicious-attack-on-weigand-elementary-school-teachers/

    Community members will be holding a press conference at Weigand today to condemn the actions of the Walton Family Foundation Parent Revolution and call for a revocation of the horribly racist and classist “parent” trigger law.