It took a while, but Los Angeles mayoral hopefuls Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel finally met with parents and students on Monday at Los Angeles Unified's chronically failing 24th Street Elementary School, where the district's first "Parent Trigger" took place.
The Parent Trigger, which is viewed as a controversial yet unique education reform tool, allows parents to take over a chronically failing school through petition, which is what recently happened at 24th Street Elementary.
While current L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa quickly supported the takeover at 24th Street, Garcetti and Greuel -- especially Garcetti -- hesitated. That's all over now.
"We are pleased Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti were able to visit with us this morning to listen and talk with us," says Amabilia Villeda, lead parent organizer for the 24th Street Elementary School Parents Union, in a press release. "It was very encouraging to hear both of them congratulate us on our work to turn around 24th Street Elementary School and express their support for the use of Parent Trigger."
Parent Revolution executive director Ben Austin, the driving force behind the Parent Trigger, says, "It is clearly evident Parent Trigger has support across the political spectrum. Party politics do not play into this support."
He adds, "Local elected officials -- and the candidates for mayor of the second-largest city in the country -- are making it clear they support a kids-first agenda, including empowering all parents to have a seat at the decision-making table for their child's education. Not long ago, Parent Trigger was considered to be a radical new law. Now, it's considered radical to oppose it."
Every now and then liberal folks in the press like to disparage the Parent Trigger, saying it's the work of evil conservatives who are anti-teachers' union. The trigger allows parents to turn public schools into non-union charter schools, which teachers' unions hate.
Those liberal folks tend to forget that Austin was an aide to Democratic President Bill Clinton and Parent Revolution gets financial backing from liberal billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad. It also gets money from the Walton Family Foundation, which leans towards a more conservative direction.
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Those liberal folks also often fail to remember that Democrat and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Democrat and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, among a host of other big-name liberals, support the Parent Trigger.
Now Garcetti and Greuel are backers.
"We know there are many other parents, just like us, trapped in failing schools around Los Angeles, who will feel more confident knowing the next mayor of Los Angeles wants parents to be able to use Parent Trigger to bring about change," says Villeda.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.