Friday, June 17, 2011

From the Folks Who Brought You Green Dot Schools

There's now a push for a parent trigger law in New York. This law was passed in California in an effort to turn an elementary school into a charter.

The Parent Trigger was conceived by a group called Parent Revolution, formerly known as the Los Angeles Parents Union. It's no secret that the organization was founded by the Green Dot charter school chain, though occasionally there's a halfhearted effort to portray Parent Revolution as a “grassroots” parents' group.

And State Senator Gloria Romero, who sponsored the legislation in California, scored herself a nice gig with Democrats for Education Reform, after voters rejected her bid to become Superintendent of Public Instruction. It must be great to take all that "reform" money and run around creating even more faux-grassroots organizations, like "Educators4Excellence."

I've long found Green Dot and its outspoken founder to be obnoxious and disingenuous. Steve Barr claims teachers drop tenure to work for him, the Green Dot website proclaims its teachers have neither tenure nor seniority rights, yet I've repeatedly seen UFT sources state that its teachers had "just cause" protection. A prominent "reform" voice once told me that GD teachers were "counseled out" when there were problems. I've repeatedly asked union sources and journalists how many GD teachers went through its "just cause" process, and how many teacher jobs were preserved as a result. I've never gotten an answer.

The UFT is partners with a Green Dot school, and while it may have precluded Barr taking over a city school, as he did in LA, it's hard to see how this organization advances the interests of working people (you know, the kind our kids grow up to become). This parent trigger thing just looks like one more "reform" effort to close and privatize even more schools.

This does not help us or our kids (though I never deluded myself Green Dot had any such goal to begin with). Nonetheless, this is one heck of a thank you for our union bringing them to the Big Apple.
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