(Victor Skinner/Education Action Group) – The state’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson apparently knows what’s best for California school children, even more so than their own parents.
That was the message the former science teacher sent attendees at a recent State Board of Education meeting when he informed them that he would be working with Assemblywoman Julie Brownley to “clean up” the Parent Trigger law that was adopted last year.
“What it really means is that they want to repeal or roll back the (Parent Trigger) law,” Parent Revolution Deputy Director Gabe Rose told L.A. Weekly.
We fear Rose is correct, largely because of Torlakson’s and Brownley’s close ties with school employee unions and education bureaucrats. The teachers unions staunchly oppose the Parent Trigger because it empowers parents with an ability to force school changes by petition, including the transition from a public school to a charter school. Both Torlakson and Brownley voted against the Parent Trigger last year.
Both Torlakson and Brownley were elected with the help of the state school employee unions’ vast political influence and campaign cash. Like union-backed California Gov. Jerry Brown – who stripped pro-reform members from the state board of education – Torkakson and Brownley are simply giving the unions their money’s worth.
The Parent Trigger law is perhaps the most important tool currently available for parents who are dissatisfied with their failing neighborhood public school because it allows them to force changes when enough feel it’s necessary.
The Parent Trigger is bad for union business because it provides a simple common-sense way for parents to break the monopolistic grip of the state’s unions to form a charter school or another, non-unionized option.
“We have no doubt that Mr. Torlakson’s attempt to put the cuffs back on parents is motivated by his cronies at the state teachers union who have funneled campaign cash into his pockets for years,” said Kyle Olson, founder and CEO of EAG. “If parents truly care about their child’s education, and want to be able to influence the type of school they attend, they should loudly voice their opposition to this obvious power grab.”