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Parent Trigger: Coming to a school near you?

Staff Photojournalist Staff Photojournalist
Staff Photojournalist

People who follow education news in California probably have heard of the new law known as the “Parent Trigger.” It allows parents to unionize — and to petition to convert eligible low-performing schools into charters or force major staffing shake-ups, among other interventions.

It was enacted in January 2010, but it wasn’t until this summer that the California Board of Education approved regulations to clarify how it will work.

Parent Revolution, the L.A.-based group behind the law, stopped in Oakland this week on a bus tour through California. Nearly all who came to the information session at Brookfield Elementary School were either part of the bus tour or members of the Oakland chapter of the NAACP, invited by Oakland school board member Alice Spearman. I noticed that only a handful of current OUSD parents (maybe just two or three) were in the room to learn about a movement described by organizer Shirley Ford as “grassroots in every sense of the word.”

That appears to have been by design. Spearman told the small group that she wanted to start with “all the key players in Oakland” to decide whether to form a parent union chapter here. If so, she said, they could bring other groups and “the grassroots parents” into the discussion.

Some critics of the Parent Trigger see it as a tactic by the charter school lobby to run more schools, especially since the founders of Parent Revolution have ties to the Green Dot charter school network. But while Spearman has supported a few charters, she’s hardly an ally of the charter school movement. She has gone against staff recommendations to vote to close charter schools or to keep them from opening in the first place.

A school is eligible to be `triggered’ if it has not met federal No Child Left Behind targets for four years in a row and if it has an API below 800. Parents whose children attend said school — or one of its feeder schools — are able to vote on proposed changes. The law requires 51 percent approval.

Ben Austin, who founded Parent Revolution, told the group that parents will be “treated like grown-ups” if they have the power of the trigger behind them, even if they don’t use it.

“The way that we’re hopeful that this law may be the most transformative is maybe not even using it at all,” he said. “They’re organizing to have power, just like teachers have power. We’re all progressives … we support teachers unions … we just think parents should be able to unionize as well.”

Do you agree?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • J.R.

    Yes, parent union,Voila! The great equalizer. Everyone needs motivation, and sometimes(when all else fails)fear is a motivator of last resort.

  • Sharon
  • Sharon

    And a bit more background info, in case anyone wants to learn about this organization’s history, source of funding, and assorted activities.

    http://www.schoolsmatter.info/search/label/Parent%20Revolution

  • J.R.

    Sharon,
    I suppose that these (reform)people in the last decade and a half have hypnotized parent/taxpayers all over the country into believing that the school system is struggling,(all available data confirms this,BTW). I know educrats want us to believe all will be fine and dandy when we just give them more money, but the track record for two and three decades past says different(more money no results= expensive babysitting). The education system is and has been academically struggling for decades(the majority, with some exceptions). Now the system is struggling financially because of it’s very expensive and expansive layered structure. Are you saying that parents aren’t smart enough to know if their local schools are performing or not? It doesn’t matter much about agenda’s here because if the education system had done it’s job, the reformers would have never gotten the chance to do anything. We wouldn’t have let them.

  • Turanga_teach

    And they chose to hold their meeting in a successful public school which has worked its way OUT of program improvement without charters or corporations because…?

  • J.R.

    Sharon,
    I read the piece, and some of these reform guys are profiteer scum(true). What is also true is that our education system over the last few decades has been a endless black hole money pit more concerned with perks,pay and pensions than educating the children. So, do you go with the money grubbing devil you know, or try something new with a different possibly just as bad money grubbing devil? I am not in any way making reference to the good and great teachers out there(the layered tiered bureaucracy, and direct payment to unions have a lot to do with that failure), frankly there isn’t enough good and great teachers(seniority rules you know,no exceptions for quality). It is a sad situation for the taxpayers out there who work just to survive, and we have people taking our money, and yet shorting us on quality(and then having the gall to say it’s not enough).

  • J.R.

    Turanga,
    You have to remember what the API means, 800 and above is acceptable,average and good. Why were we so low for decades, and who wasn’t doing his or her job, and why didn’t they care for all that time? You are right though, it is all about the almighty dollar. The education system has had a state mandated monopoly for so long(along with the taxpayer funded revenue stream) it just did not care one way or the other anymore. Now you do? I bet pay,perks and pensions have something to do with it.

  • Turanga_teach

    Wow, JR, have you BEEN to Brookfield? I taught there. I still have colleagues there. Kids are dying right, left, and center in that neighborhood; families torn apart by drugs, crime, deportation, you name it. The school was constantly being broken into by dope fiends who’d ruffle up the classrooms and steal the electronics. And every day, every week, every year, caring families and caring teachers worked against near-impossible odds for the same goals. Every year, we’d wring our hands at the ones we couldn’t reach, celebrate the ones we could, and do everything we knew of to try harder next time.

    It was NEVER about the pensions. It’s still not about the pensions. Pay? The best 4th grade teacher I knew there worked weekends at Walgreens because she couldn’t make ends meet otherwise. Perks? Um, I think there was a coffee maker. Sometimes, we could plug it in.

    Show me a selfish teacher, and we’ll talk about your conspiracy theories about the education monopoly. But don’t bother looking at Brookfield.

  • Katy Murphy

    I don’t know why the meeting was held at Brookfield, but there wasn’t any talk about using the parent trigger there. It couldn’t happen anyway, since Brookfield raised its test scores and made it out of Program Improvement this year.

    Schools are only “eligible” if they’ve missed federal test score targets (Adequate Yearly Progress) for four years in a row and have APIs below 800.

  • http://www.parentsacrossamerica.org CarolineSF

    Actually, the LA Times has reported that the Astroturf Parent Revolution (an organization created by and for charter operators) has basically given up on the Parent Trigger as originally envisioned, since its one use so far was so patently phony.

    At McKinley Elementary in Compton (near LA), Parent Revolution chose the school for a Parent Trigger petition drive, pre-selecting the charter operator to take over the school before it ever approached a single McKinley parent for a signature. Although politicians and the press have been cheering all this despite the fact that it was absurdly phony, it’s still backfiring badly enough that they’re trying another tack.

    The Times says Parent Revolution now wants to organize parent groups at schools to vaguely help effect change at the schools.

    Parent Revolution has most recently targeted Pasadena and has been really busy trying to convince parents there that it’s a parent group. Here’s an excellent local commentary about that.

    http://www.pasadenasun.com/news/opinion/tn-pas-0916-commentsmith,0,7623274.story

  • J.R.

    Turanga,
    Did I mention names? I must have missed it. I did mention that there were exceptions, however. For years upon years decade after decade so many of these schools have struggled, with so many jr.high & high school kids having to be remediated because they never learned to read or write or do math at the basic level. They were passed on through the system and nobody ever had the guts to change things until there was no choice left. That time is right now. There is no conspiracy theory, just look at the lack of results over the last two three decades(with exceptions of course). What is worse than that is letting the system fester without doing a thing about it as long as the money was rolling in. Pitiful!

  • Katy Murphy
  • J.R.

    Katy,
    I Read the piece, and the comments were even more illuminating. Apparently we have had decades of mostly stupid uninvolved parents(I know there are many, but lets not exaggerate), but teachers never rose up and demanded systemic change in all those years to deal with that(or overstuffed, overpaid district office denizens for that matter). They always kept fairly quiet as long as the money kept coming(and BTW parents need to go out and earn money to live and pay taxes for you know who).

  • J.R.

    An interesting article on the parent trigger law, and the efforts to gut,put caps(like they do on charters) or obstruct this law.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/02/02/3370026/should-state-support-its-parent.html

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    Oh the irony! Here they are talking about closing low performing schools and opening charters, and in Oakland we are going to close good schools for charters and leave the failing ones alone.
    Jr, what pay, perks,and pensions are you talking about?
    Smaller schools, smaller class sizes the implementation of a reading program that is rooted in phonemic awareness, helped greatly in raising test scores, as well as the utilization of edusoft that guides instruction. The teacher turnover rate in Oakland demanded a reading program that would really help new teachers . Thank-you , Mr. Chaconas. These changes did not happen overnight.
    But to think teacher pay and pensions motivate….very misinformed you are. Laughable.
    Well, I must say the perks are great, the Lamborghini and Lear jet….

  • J.R.

    Lisa,
    Reductio ad absurdum, and just plain dumb. We’ve already covered this ground about short work days(spare the correcting until midnight),summers, and every legal holiday(and don’t forget the nearly impregnable job security(see link).

    http://www.academicleadership.org/article/its-not-as-simple-as-just-getting-rid-of-the-worst-ones–unfortunately

    For the overwhelming majority of us taxpayers, we can be fired if we don’t do our jobs, or just on a whim, and we have almost no recourse. We have no grievance system or protection, so just be happy and do your job. You don’t need to be given a Lamborghini or Lear jet to be judged overcompensated. Anyone who is not doing their job well is overcompensated.

  • Turanga_teach

    …and, every now and again, we even get the EXTRA GRAHAM CRACKERS from nutritional services!

    I had a package of printer paper once, just for me. Twas awesome.

  • J.R.

    You poor under-appreciated, nearly destitute soul.

  • Ms. J.

    My first reaction to the parent trigger idea is:
    If 51% of families at a school site are so involved as to want to demand change, the school is probably a pretty good school anyway.

    If those parents are supporting their kids at home, and supporting their school achievement by helping with homework and making sure the kids get to school fed and rested, then most of the battle is won.

    If parents have the energy to come to a school and demand something better they can help to create that something better. A school does not exist in a vacuum.

    I think that one of the most pernicious things about the idea of school ‘choice,’ in whatever form, is the idea that you can simply choose a school rather than commit to it and be part of what makes it good.

    Peralta is not some fantastic school just by virtue its staff, though I’m sure they’re great; Peralta has had notable, motivated, demanding family involvement which has seen it through some tough times and brought it to its current status as a blue ribbon school. Everyone there and in similar schools should take credit for the school’s success–I’m talking about kids, families, and staff–but by the same token a struggling school’s failures, if we agree to call them that, are not to be laid only at the door of the school’s staff.

    I can’t believe that a school with 51% of its families motivated enough to trigger a take-over couldn’t become a better school without selling out to a charter or undergoing the disruptive, punitive trauma of reconstitution.

  • J.R

    Motivation is what it’s all about, some families have it and some don’t. A huge bureaucratic system that rewards everyone irregardless of merit(only time served) has absolutely no motivation to do better. Particular people with strong work ethics and personal pride do shine on their own merits but this is not built into the system. This is reflected right down to the school and the child, the social promotion is an example of this. The need to remediate high schoolers and college students is yet another example of lack of motivation. There is no selling out to anyone, you don’t own the tax money, it’s there to provide what is best for the children. Over the last three decades we have been short-changed and had to tolerate too many “oh well” attitudes on top of it. We have to look at it as medicine it isn’t going to taste good but it is necessary for the good of the children. We can’t continue to have faith in a system that has underproduced and failed for so long, we just can’t.

  • livegreen

    Or is it just about signing a petition? Ballot initiatives work so well, we’re applying it to schools now? How does it address financing them then, since that’s one of the biggest problems…

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    J.R.
    “…irregardless…”, there’s your sign.Shame on your teachers.
    I am so sorry you work at a job with no grievance system or protection. Do you work at McDonald’s or Walmart?

    The fact is, if you want a mediocre teacher, you may be right that the day begins at 8:30 and ends at 3:00, that all vacation time is spent truly doing nothing related to work. If you want excellent teachers then you will get those working in the summer, staying late and coming early to school, tutoring children at the end of the day, never taking a break, even for lunch, attending trainings, helping with committees, school gardens, science trainings, fighting school closures, reading education blogs on the weekend because MAYBE our job is not so secure. ad infinitum…..

  • Hmakesyouthink

    Could the parents at Marshall and Burkhalter use this to turn into charters?

  • another interested parent

    ah, Ms. Oler –
    If only all teachers did the things that you mentioned. I am sure that many, if not most do, but I can tell you that at plenty of OUSD schools they don’t. The “hills” school that my kids attend, for example, has many teachers working strictly to contract. Tutoring children at the end of the day? Working in the school gardens? Never taking a lunch break? No. And, frankly, according to their contract, they don’t have to.

    As for job security, that’s why tenure is so highly prized in all educational systems. Once you have it, you are insulated almost completely from losing your job due to performance issues. As a professional myself, with an advanced degree, I don’t have that same protection. As long as I am given the notice required under state law, there doesn’t even have to be a good reason for my firing, as long as it is a non-discriminatory one. It doesn’t take working at McDonald’s or Walmart in order to have less job security than that given by tenure. And comments like that don’t help the discourse. Yes, tenure grants a good deal of job security. Let’s not pretend that it doesn’t. Of course, tenure isn’t the only issue here — just a portion of the debate.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    Highly prized at a cost. Job security is excellence.And slamming teachers seems to be much of the debate here. adios.

  • J.R.

    Re: “job security is excellence”, would you care to explain, and expand that line of reasoning?

  • Turanga_teach

    Look, I’m a teacher, and I have issues with tenure as it plays out right now. HOWEVER…all of these issues unfold in a deeply dysfunctional system, in which teachers are by no means the sole ones tripping up at times and there is an honest need for SOMETHING to shield teachers from single-minded blame for the educational outcomes of rising numbers of increasingly under-prepared and overburdened children who live and learn under wildly sub-optimal conditions.

    Will the Parent Trigger fix a broken school? I don’t think it’s that simple, but as other posters have said, I truly believe that the advocacy and involvement of that number of concerned families CAN move mountains for children and schools. As long as the fundamental understanding moves beyond an adversarial relationship between “those lazy bad teachers” and “people who love children”, and as long as educators expressing skepticism over quick-fixes like charters are trusted to be speaking out of something other than just pure self-interest, I think we can go places. Together.

  • Zelda the Teacher

    Not sustainable over time: “…If you want excellent teachers then you will get those working in the summer, staying late and coming early to school, tutoring children at the end of the day, never taking a break, even for lunch, attending trainings, helping with committees, school gardens, science trainings, fighting school closures, reading education blogs on the weekend…”

    I consider myself an excellent teacher. I also do not feel I have to spend every single waking moment at work or on work-related matters. It’s nuts. What is wrong with “just” teaching the class, including all the prep, and grading that goes with it? Why do I need to do more than that, which is in itself considerable? I put in at least 15 hours of overtime every single week, and often, more like 20+. It’s enough. And it should not be necessary to give up any semblance of a personal life, a family, friends, and interests outside work.

    As for the “Parent Trigger,” well, I have my doubts, especially as this group may have ties to Broad and is doubtless intended to be part of the movement to make OUSD the first entirely charter school district. I’ve met LOTS of Oakland parents, many very fine and caring parents, but just as many who make horrendous decisions on behalf of their children. And many are quite vocal. Most are not equipped to really make decisions about the fate of entire schools. Many are still carrying grudges left over from their own school days.

    OUSD is more and more a sinking ship. Tragic.

  • J.R.

    Turanga,
    No one blames solely the teachers, that just ridiculous, but change needs to come and why not start on the front lines where students learn(first step). The under prepared over burdened children have been brought to you courtesy of a system that rewards and encourages irresponsible people in their irresponsible behavior(that is the multi-generational root of the problem). These reform ideas are just small steps to try and fix the huge multifaceted entitlement problem that we have created(kind of like banging on an anvil with a salami). This person is entitled to that, and that person is entitled to that(not by real need, but by preference and virtue of time).

    Ever since people have tried to reform the educational system, the beneficiaries of public largesse(unions etc.) have always, through bought and paid for politicians attempted and succeeded to gut,kill or limit any kind of change to possibly benefit students.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/mar/30/hard-cap-on-charter-schools-isnt-reform/

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/2011/07/pulling-parent-trigger-save-failing-schools

    We as parents and taxpayers have not witnessed much beyond adversarial entitled attitudes and some deception as well. Let me make it clear we are not fans of the district either because while your two sides argue over our money(what it all comes down to) we are almost exclusively focused on whats best for the children(and not going over a financial cliff while doing so).

  • Nextset

    This is interesting.

    Teachers have always been able to boot students who can’t or won’t perform – by flunking them. Now we supposedly have parents pulling the trigger on the techers.

    The problem I see is that the teachers stopped flunking – or perhaps the “schools” decided to block the teachers from giving out Fs. Either way the non-performing students built up at the “schools” until the “schools” have lost their reputations as schools. Now we have all this chaos.

    You see, if you give Fs, they will leave.

    The educrats did it to themselves.

    See if the Piedmont and Orinda parents try to turn their public schools into Charters.

    Brave New World.

  • Harold

    “Students” can get all F’s in Middle School and the six figure folks (administration), will socially promote them to High School. And somehow when they drop out its the High School Teacher’s fault because they aren’t reaching them. Not differentiating their instruction enough …

  • Jeremy

    Teachers are not solely the problem and charter school and school reform are not the sole solution.

    Other issues:
    * Political Correctness
    *Lazy Parents
    *Parent Involvement as union cronyism
    *Victim Mentalities
    *University Teacher Ed Programs
    *Unions
    *Political lobbies and structure of politics & power

    Eventually , charters will become just as big, bureaucratic and cumbersome as the school districts. They too have their unions (Charter Association).

    The public schools system is a government game. “Public” schools belong to the american people just as much as “Peoples” China belongs to Chinese citizens!

    This is a tactic aimed at garnering parent voices to pursue special interests. Nothing new in politics.

    So this tactic will not even begin to solve the crisis for students…It will simply boost the GPA’s of mettlesome parent’s children!!!!

    Districts are in trouble, but so is America and our youth. If we do not come up with some real solutions fast…..Our kids will begin to leave this country in order to find labor work in other countries within a few generations!

  • J.R.

    Jeremy,
    “Eventually , charters will become just as big, bureaucratic and cumbersome as the school districts. They too have their unions (Charter Association)”.

    You do know that union lobbyists, and politicians have always attempted to put in place restrictions on the numbers of charters, don’t you. This is not a coincidence, it’s all about money(taxpayers money) and power and how to keep it.

    http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries
    /opinions_on_education/54478.html?print

    http://richgibson.com/neasalaries09.html

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/08/19/3847664/california-loses-115-million-in.html

  • J.R.

    Jeremy,
    If you feel parents are “meddlesome”, it could be time to find a new line of work.

  • Jeremy

    I am not a teacher- I am the son of a former meddlesome parent!

    I am a university students who opted out of liberal studies after attending some of the most leftist leaning classes and mentalities one could imagine . Commie rhetoric espoused by indivduals being paid , in most part, with tax payer dollars! And I consider myself a liberal.

    JR, you know that charter lobbysists exist to right? You know they have been putting in for the Netflix CEO’s agenda too right? Mr. Hastings was after all , the President of the State board at one point.

    A cap is a teprorary thing. Big charter corps will find a way around them and the charter unions, associations, and lobbysist know this. There are deal getting cut as we speak!

    I now study business and can see the charter corps getting stronger.

  • J.R.

    Jeremy,
    Do you have any inkling as to the “ACTUAL” massive influence and power wielded both financially and politically by the teachers unions(NEA,AFT,CTA)? I never would have guessed that you would classify yourself as a liberal. Have you focused your liberal-arts trained mind on the fact that charters have been around for a decade and a half(or so), and in relatively small numbers? For decades the regular public education system was always content to coast, and take the path of least resistance. There were and are teachers and administrators though who stand out and expect excellence, but there are just not enough of these people. Our country also has the problem of entitlement recipients who have over saturated the system(multi-generational unbridled breeding), and there isn’t much left for honest to goodness working taxpayers. The teachers in the classrooms can’t handle these uncontrollable kids(is it any wonder why)? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

  • Sharon

    As far as unions go, it makes A LOT more sense to me to support a group that’s lobbying for fair hours, pay, benefits, and rights of 3,219,458 working people (= the number of U.S. public school teachers) rather than supporting phony organizations formed and funded by a few members of the corporate plutocracy.

    Remember the middle class, members of whom are the teachers whom the billionaire-funded propaganda has made oh-so-popular-to-trash? Or are we too far along in our 21st-century transformation into an increasingly chaotic, neo-feudal society?

    Here is a reminder about the trend. In the 1950’s and 60’s, the CEO’s of major American companies took home about 25 to 30 times the wages of the typical worker, and 36% of the United States labor force was unionized.

    By 1990, the big company CEO took home roughly 100 times the worker’s wage and our labor force was down to 16%.

    In the 2000s, executives at the largest American companies received about 350 times the pay of the average employee and only 13% of our labor force was unionized.

    The United States is now one of the most economically stratified societies in the western world. A 2008 study found that the top .01% — or 14,000 American families — hold 22.2% of wealth. The bottom 90%, or over 133 million families, control just 4% of the nation’s wealth (h/t Bill Moyers Journal).

    Either by international or state comparison, student achievement HAS NO CORRELATION to if the teachers are unionized, or not. But there is greater well-being in places where parent workers are properly cared for. I’m coming to believe that union haters don’t look at the evidence b/c they have some personal bone to pick.

  • Jeremy

    No I dont know their actual power…do you?

    Look…unions are massive yes…but the new refromers are also a charge of money, influence and power aimed at the school reform mantra simply due to the attention and market share it will generate as these schools are taken over by the MBA’s of the world. Look at all of the major charter organizations JR, who runs them? I bet you they arent brown or black, or fomer inner city dwellers!

    How much would you guess to say the new brand of charter school leaders have MBA’s.I see the evolution and dont stand on either side, cause to be honest….I aint stupid!MBA’s know one thing…business growth!

    Technolgies, facilties, and lending….all market trends in education….you think Reed Hastings, Broad, Aspire, Kipp and all of those heroes dont know??
    I hate unions and public education as it stands now just as musch, but lets not think that charter schools are little ducklings either!

    Students and families (yes those meddlesome excuse searching parents as well) are all duped.

    Better teach em mandarin and spanish….the future is labor over there!

  • J.R.

    Sharon,
    Did you realize that nowhere in your little diatribe did you even mention the children, and that speaks volumes. I used to be on the side of the union, because they used to stand for something(prior to the 70′s), but now I just support the great teachers out there because they deserve support. Some day soon you might open your eyes wide and see the truth as it really is, The unions are no better than those corporatists that you love to hate. The unions have always been in the way and obstructed any meaningful policy changes in the best interest of the taxpayers and kids. They are laughing all the way to the bank when good hardworking teachers are in the trenches, they buy politicians and make union dues mandatory even if you opt out(just like the mafia). When as a organization the unions put in place onerous procedures that make it extremely burdensome to discipline and or fire incompetent teachers. They put in place policies that reward simple longevity and a person putting the evidence together can only conclude that union dues(taxpayer money) is the number one concern. That is why they hate the charters so much, they think they own the tax money and they don’t want anyone else to receive the money. Parents pay the tax money and they should decide where to spend it, you need to do your job. The public schools have failed us(with exceptions) for decades, we taxpayers pay amongst the top rate in taxes toward education on a world wide basis, but our results are mediocre at best. It’s all about the money and not the kids.

    http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/opinions_on_education/54478.html?print

  • http://www.parentsacrossamerica.org CarolineSF

    Actually, JR, Sharon DID mention the students, with the most compelling point there is in this debate. She pointed out (recasting her words) that student achievement is lowest in the least-unionized states — those where teachers can be fired at will — and highest in the states with strongest unions — those where teachers have the highest job security.

    The correlation is clear. Correlation does not equal causation, but this proves that the ability to fire teachers at whim does NOT improve student achievement.

    This is all about the well-being of students, and that’s the point Sharon was making, with concern for students at the very heart of her comment.

  • J.R.

    Caroline,
    There is nothing compelling about that at all, this exact point has been made by Randi Weingarten in the intelligence squared debate(she lost big time). This has more to to with parental issues, unions only carve out rights for members, and students are not union members. You can watch the debate here and see for yourself. Everyone should watch this!

    http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-debates/dont-blame-teachers-unions-for-our-failing-schools/

    or here

    http://vimeo.com/10396620

    Before you bring up the Finland and unionization point, do not forget that in Finland the money follows the child, and if the school isn’t doing their job the child moves on and they lose the money. That is covered here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx4pN-aiofw

  • J.R.

    Caroline,
    That is not at all compelling( as a matter of fact it is rooted solidly in parental issues), Randi Weingarten tried to make the exact same point about unionized states in a debate, and it didn’t go over well with the audience here is the link:

    http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-debates/dont-blame-teachers-unions-for-our-failing-schools/

    In another union talking point about Finland being unionized, pro union people fail to disclose that the tax money follows the children so if the school does not meet the child’s needs, the parents move the child and the school loses the money. Market forces at work.

    These points are covered here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx4pN-aiofw

  • Sue

    J.R. you post here a lot, so I’m going to assume you’re familiar with the ADA acronym.

    The money follows the student in OUSD. When my now-Skyline-freshman was pulled from our neighborhood school after four weeks in kindergarten and moved to Carl B Munck (long, ugly story), the ADA increase and the money went to Munck, and the neighborhood school lost them because it wasn’t doing the job.

    So, could you please clarify your point about unions in Finland?

  • J.R.

    Sue,
    In many districts in Alameda county, and the state at large(due to either no alternative charter schools, or restrictions on charters)many children are stuck in their neighborhood schools, and the money stays with the district. I was only making that point about Finland because it had been a union talking point. Oakland’s situation is different in this regard, but union power is still evident in many other district policies. Example: everyone will get a firsthand look at seniority/bumping and the musical teacher parade that will ensue. I hope I am wrong and the district can minimize this, but I doubt it with so many closures. everyone has already witnessed LIFO although not on a large scale yet(just wait, it’s not pretty).Wait until a seniority start date issue happens when they decide between two teachers hired on the same day and they choose by social security number and something else just as ridiculous.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    Oh the irony!
    As Oakland Unified prepares to close schools, none of the charters could even be considered because the are protected . Many of these schools are low performing schools. They were created as “school reform”. And now through the privatization process of public education they have quite a rigorous criteria to follow to be closed.
    The children who currently go to schools being closed will not even have the “option” to attend the schools that are opening in their place.
    Obviously the Oakland Education Association does not have the same amount of power as charters .

  • Nextset

    I’m afraid the cutbacks and school closures is just the manifestation of a public policy decision to end public schooling as it was practiced in the first half of the 20th Century.

    Instead of the entire community’s children being educated in the same school system with segregated programs for the different tracks – which was done so the tracks (A,B&C) didn’t conflict with each other – we will now have totally different school systems for the different tracks. The different systems will be called Charters and the vastly smaller public schools will remain for the dregs who are refused or expelled from the Charters.

    This means that children will disperse to the different school systems by Caste. Rather than start in the same system which would have selected higher functioning students for the college track, the slum children will go to the non-school public schools which will teach and reinforce indiscipline. Students from two-parent and middle class (those making over $150k) will be routed to real schools and never meet the lower caste students. A Brave New World, where people are born Alphas and Betas and never the twain shall meet. They go on to reproduce with fellow Alphas and Betas and work in occupations for Alphas and Betas. No upward social mobility.

    To really get all this going we have to first remove all the higher functioning students from the public schools and shrink those schools – that’ll break the union also. Looks to me that’s well under way at OUSD with these closures.

    When these budget cuts get finished combined with the inane “education” policy of the urban districts there will be little to no White, Jewish and Asian students in them. They will be permanently gone to the charters (and church/private schools). That seems to be the state plan. At some point the real teachers (guess which) will follow those kids out of the urban schools. Visualize OUSD and LAUSD in even 5 more years of this. Now imagine 15 more years.

    It’s too bad we didn’t keep the OUSD education policy of 1962 (use of flunking and transfers to protect the good OUSD schools). And the cinnamon rolls in the Oakland Tech Cafeteria.

    Brave New World.