Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future (FFF) has brought in Parent Revolution the past two years to testify on behalf of Parent Trigger. FFF’s executive director, Patricia Levesque, orchestrated a press conference last week with Parent Revolution as a primary part of FFF’s efforts to pass Parent Trigger. Bush even singled out the self-described left wing group at his fifth annual summit in November 2012.
Parent Revolution’s existence depends on Parent Trigger legislation becoming reality and is banking on it’s success in Adelanto, California. The group spends a lot of time advancing their version of events. Fully funded by billionaire philanthropies, such a misinformation campaign is easy. Sometimes the real story gets out. Former Adelanto school board chairman Carlos Mendoza routinely tells events differently. Now this from two parent who found herself on the losing side. From Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Gary Cohn:
……parent Lori Yuan, say that this parent-trigger effort was controlled by organizers brought in by Parent Revolution, and that they tricked the community into believing this was simply an effort to improve conditions at the school, not to give it over to a private charter operator. Parent Revolution officials, in turn, say that their opposition used unethical tactics in contesting the petitions.
“Our community was misled,” recalls Yuan, who has two children at the school. “Parents didn’t know they were signing for a charter takeover.”
Shelly Whitfield, who has five children at Desert Trails Elementary, says she was repeatedly approached at home and school to sign a petition. “They came to my door several times and said they were going to get computers and help get the kids better lunches,” she remembers. She says she is strongly opposed to the end result – the conversion of the school to a charter operation.
While Cohn does quote parents who were angry with Adelanto and Mendoza, he closes with something that illustrates the horrible results of Parent Revolution’s efforts.
Yuan disagrees: “We’ve known all along this wasn’t a grassroots movement.”
The focus of Parent Revolution has lately shifted to the city of Los Angeles. In February, the city’s board of education approved the first use of the parent-trigger law at the West Adams District’s 24th Street Elementary School. It’s still not clear exactly what changes will take place at the school, or whether it will be given over to a charter operator. Other struggling Los Angeles schools, including Weigand Avenue Elementary in Watts, are also likely to consider or adopt parent-trigger takeovers in the months ahead.
Adelanto, meanwhile, represents the application of Parent Revolutionary theory into practice, with school children as the experiment’s key ingredients. The school, whose students are predominantly Latino and black, won’t become a charter until August, but will be operated by LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy, a high test-scoring nonprofit school whose “back to basics” curriculum includes classes in Latin and classical literature.
Whitfield, however, won’t be sending her children to LaVerne in the fall.
“My kids are not going to go there,” she says. “They’re taking away all the teachers my kids have been around for years. They took over our school, and I don’t think it’s fair. They’re not for the kids.”
Cohn describes the Adelanto battle as “bitter and bruising” and that it “split the community.” Part of Parent Revolution’s marketing plan in Adelanto was to rent a house close to the school. With a parent’s story of “repeatedly (being) approached at home and (at) school to sign a petition and that “they came to my door several times” it’s clear Parent Revolution is willing to engage in agitation, harassment and intimidation to achieve it’s goal.
Bush obvious support and promotion of Parent Revolution’s Parent Trigger methodology shows he’s willing to unleash such a monster in Florida communities. His clear disregard for the parent’s who didn’t want what Parent Revolution wanted in Adelanto reveals that he only supports parent who choose what he wants.