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Parent Trigger: Times Debates Transparency, Urgency

Alexander Russo | June 3, 2013



parent-trigger1There are two interesting opinion pieces on the parent trigger in the LA Times  — both focused on the aftermath of the parent trigger petition at Weigand Elementary but coming at the issue from different points of view:

One of the two highlights the laudable desire to make sure that teachers and parents are fully aware of what’s going on when a petition process is happening.  The other explains that the debate over the principal’s ouster and the teachers’ dismay is fundamentally about the different timeframes in which educators and parents operate (and suggests that relationships play as important a role as test scores).

The first, written by the newspaper’s editorial page, expresses concern that the trigger process that unfolded at Weigand prevented useful communication between parents and teachers (who were surprised and dismayed at the parents’ desire to remove the principal):

“Reformers might fear that a more open process would lead to more misinformation and even intimidation of parents by teachers or others with a vested interest in the status quo,” states the editorial page (The ‘parent trigger’ trap). “But a closed petition means that parents are shut off from debate and discussion that lead to truly empowered decision-making.”

The second piece, by columnist Jim Newton, explains that LAUSD parents at low-performing schools are understandably impatient for changes:

“Imagine being the parent of a second-grade student at the school. For the last several years, that student would have been enrolled in a struggling school that showed signs of getting worse,” according to Newton’s piece (In a hurry to pull the ‘parent trigger’). “The fight at Weigand is a contest between school authorities who believe change can only be accomplished over time against parents who have no time to waste.”

Previous posts: Teachers Union Turning Back Against Parent TriggerSad Educators vs. Poor Parents (commentary).

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