With Florida republican senators obliged to pass Parent Trigger this session to serve Jeb Bush’s political interests, it’s crucial to remind Floridians what those senators have to ignore. With House sponsor Carlos Trujillo affirming that controversial charter school advocacy group Parent Revolution can operate in a Parent Trigger effort in Florida “under first amendment protections,” a clear picture of how the group operates must be made clear for Floridians. Writing in NSFWCORP (subscription required) Yasha Levine reveals more details of the coercive strong-arm tactics the group used on Adelato, California citizens.
Turns out that Mary (not her real name), who had a second-grade daughter in Desert Trails, had good reason to join the campaign. Chrissy says she had serious problems with her immigration status and was facing deportation. Parent Revolution promised to make those problems disappear. It was an offer than must have been hard to resist: help a group pull off its trigger campaign or face deportation and the possibility that she’d never see your family again………She was in a heap of trouble. She had gone to a lawyer, who told her that there was no way around this other than you going back to Mexico.”
I recognized the woman’s name. She had been interviewed by cable news networks, and appeared in dozens of news stories talking about parent empowerment and the need for parents to take an active role in their children’s education. She even squirted a couple of tears for reporters once.
Dangling citizenship in front of a desperate mother facing deportation—this is what parent empowerment looks like to the billionaires trying to privatize public education. And it appears she was not the only one…
Multiple sources told me that Parent Revolution had propositioned other undocumented Latino immigrants, promising to help resolve their immigration status in return for their support of the parent trigger petition. Help with immigration in exchange for a single signature? It’s an offer that many families must have found difficult to turn down.
As Parent Revolution’s legal team worked pro bono, it’s not a stretch to believe that they possessed the muscle to make status problems go away. It’s no surprise that Levine couldn’t get any of these parents to talk to her as “they feared retribution from Parent Revolution and did not want to put their families in danger.”
By one estimation, the implementation of Common Core will increase the number of failing Florida schools to over 100. With many of these schools sure to be in communities filled with English-as-a-second language homes, Parent Revolution could find a target-rich environment for such despicable coercion of Florida families.
This is the group which Jeb Bush gave a shout-out to at his DC Summit last fall and that his top advisor, Patricia Levesque has paraded around for Florida legislators and media the past two years. To ignore how Parent Revolution operates, Florida’s republican legislators show what they are willing to allow to enter some of the state’s most vulnerable communities to serve Bush’s agenda.