Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti flip-flopped days before the March 5 primary election, embracing Parent Trigger, the dramatic law now spreading nationwide that lets disgusted parents take over bad schools through petition.

On February 15, when L.A. Weekly pressed the five top mayoral candidates for their positions on Parent Trigger, Wendy Greuel, Jan Perry, Kevin James and Emanuel Pleitez backed it. Garcetti, who is getting campaign help from UTLA, the powerful teachers union that hates Parent Trigger, said he wasn't ready to back the law. Apparently, he's evolved.

Garcetti changed his mind at an education summit sponsored by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, after L.A. Times columnist Jim Newton further pushed Garcetti on his position on the law.

Most teachers unions see the Parent Trigger law as a threat to their power because it lets parents take charge of disastrous public schools if they can get enough signatures from enough fed-up parents at a given school.

But it's clear that parents want more power over anti-reform unions and school boards.

Education reformers are now pleased as punch about Garcetti's change of mind, although some folks are skeptical about Garcetti's eleventh-hour change of heart, L.A. School Report explains.

Parent Revolution executive director Ben Austin, a guiding force behind the Parent Trigger, sent out a press release trumpeting the fact that “all the candidates for mayor of Los Angeles have now publicly stated their support for 'Parent Trigger' and its use by parents in failing schools.”

Austin noted that, “This is an idea that didn't exist during the last mayoral election, and just a few years ago was considered too radical for mainstream politicians to embrace. Now it's radical not to endorse the simple idea that parents should have power over the educational destiny of their own children.”

The first Los Angeles parents to tap their new powers under the Parent Trigger law did so at the badly failing 24th Street Elementary School in West Adams. Those parents are now moving ahead, after L.A. Unified officials chose to back the parents rather than fight them.

Check out the award-winning L.A. Weekly cover story “California's Parent Trigger.”

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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