Teachers’ Union Fights Parent Trigger Laws in California

When a school is failing, it seems reasonable that parents can effect change in that school. In California, the Parent Trigger law enables parents to overhaul a school if it is failing their children. Parents have successfully used it, becoming an active force for change in their children’s schools, and teachers in Los Angeles aren’t happy about it. 

With as many as 50 schools in the Los Angles area reportedly in talks with Parent Revolution, the group that helps parents through the parent trigger process, the Los Angles Teachers’ Union (LATU) is running scared. Spokesman David Phelps said that teachers and schools are “starting to feel the heat of parent power. They’re realizing this is not just a fad, but that parent empowerment is here to stay. They have to try to find ways of countering it, because it might make teachers more accountable.”

Some reforms have already been made, but The LATU is now hoping to change the law itself through new legislation. UTLA president Warren Fletcher says that “The current law is premised on the idea that someone has to be blamed and we have to go after the culprit. We believe collaboration goes a lot farther than balkanization.” To make these changes, the group voted to find a lawmaker who would sponsor the legislation on their behalf. The exact changes proposed by the UTLA are not known.

The responsibility of a teacher is to educate the students. If teachers or schools are failing to live up to that expectation, parents have a responsibility to their children to make changes that will correct the situation. That teachers would fight so fervently against this makes one wonder where their priorities lie.  In the past we’ve heard a lot from teachers about their desire for parents to be involved in their children’s education. I guess that involvement isn’t allowed if it means anything other than accepting the status quo or actually improving schools.