News Hot off the Presses

This week, Orlando, FL is hosting the U.S Conference of Mayors.  According to Reuters, "hundreds" of mayors endorsed "parent trigger" laws...

"...aimed at bypassing elected school boards and giving parents at the worst public schools the opportunity to band together and force immediate change."

Well, it does force change but is it change the only outcome parents create?  Generally so.  The adage "be careful what you wish for" surely applies here to those parents.

I called Mayor McGinn's office and they are going to let me know if he voted on this issue and if he did, how he voted.  It will be a great disappointment if he voted yes.  

Parent trigger laws are in place in several states including California, Texas and Louisiana and are under consideration in states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York. So far, though, the concept has never successfully been used to turn around a school.

Though it has not yet been shown to work, parent trigger has support from many of the big players seeking to inject more free-market competition into public education, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

Major philanthropies and wealthy financiers have poured money into backing political candidates and advocacy groups, including one called Parent Revolution, that promote parent trigger, according to campaign finance records in several states.

Opponents of parent trigger, however, pointed out that the mayors' endorsement was largely symbolic, since such policies typically require legislative approval.

"Parents don't have control once they pull the trigger," said Kathleen Oropeza, co-founder of Fund Education Now, an advocacy group that successfully fought to derail a parent trigger bill in Florida earlier this year. "Who profits? Not parents and children."

Keep in mind, I-1240 has such a trigger except that it's much worse.  The majority of parents OR teachers can sign a petition for an approved charter to take over a school.  There is NO other law or pending law in the country on this issue that allows just teachers to take over a school.

And, with I-1240 it is NOT just for failing schools - it's for every single school in every single district.   Bye, bye Garfield?  International High in Bellevue?  High-performing schools are under this trigger as well.

In other news, Washington STEM announced Patrick D'Amelio as its new CEO.  He was recently the head of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Puget Sound and former CEO at the Alliance for Education.  

Patrick was always warm and gracious to me when he was running the Alliance.  It also bore no resemblance to the Alliance you see today so naturally, I missed him when he left.  Good choice, Washington STEM.


mirmac1 said…
power hungry politicians.
Anonymous said…
Ummmmm... why would parents want to "pull the trigger" on high-performing schools, Melissa? That point strikes me as fear-mongering. It's just a moot point aimed at riling up parents in schools that are already working. There is no way a successful school would ever have many parents wanting to change things. If it ain't broke...

You are starting to sound desperate on this whole charter issue. Grasping at straws.

- Judy
Judy, first of all, why is it in the initiative at all? All the other trigger laws (or proposed laws) are ONLY for failing schools. Odd.

Second, I can very well imagine a scenario where teachers at a high-performing school could hear the siren song of a charter promising them more. The number of teachers at a school versus the number of parents at a school is far smaller.

I'm not grasping at straws; I'm explaining what is in the initiative and possible outcomes. That's more than LEV or Stand are doing.
CT said…
In Arizona, a bunch of schools in the Cave Creek school district just switched to charters. Why? Because they'll get more money per pupil from the state.
Another school in a different district went charter because it was promised large amounts of money by a donor, but district restrictions prohibit from accepting large amounts of money from a single donor.
All of these were successful public schools in fairly well-to-do areas.
CT, I do need to do a thread on Florida and Arizona where a lot of very weird stuff is happening around public education. You just named one of them.
SPSLeaks said…
Hot off the Presses!

Just how are principals and assistant principals being trained to evaluate teachers and be "instructional leaders". Check out the latest PUBLIC records.

PG&E and PET Training materials
Anonymous said…
The GOP legislature in Arizona is making a fabulous attempt to kill all public education in the state. Vouchers for private/parochial schools, more money to charters than to public schools - I have no plans to ever return to my home state and add money to their coffers. I told the family/relatives if they want to see me, they’ll have to come up and visit me. Given that AZ is (literally) burning up and also destroying its environmental treasures, I suspect I’ll have more than a few takers.
AZ has gone off the deep end.

Anonymous said…
Look, Melissa. I'm just trying to warn you that your reputation is on the line here. I am talking to more parents every day who are starting to comment on you seeming particularly desperate about this charter issue. They don't understand why you are fighting it so hard when they feel your talents have been better suited focusing on the district, etc. I have heard several people wonder if you are being paid by the union given how much time you seem to be putting into this. I must say, I am starting to wonder than myself. I just think you need to be careful here. There is good work to be done as far as monitoring the district, but you could really kill your reputation on this issue and ruin your ability to do that.

- Judy
Charlie Mas said…
Judy, I think you're right. I mean there's no way that anyone would do as much work as Melissa is doing over the charter school issue without getting paid.

Except, of course, that Melissa has been working much harder than that on a wide variety of education issues for much longer without any pay. So anyone who doubts that she is doing it as a volunteer isn't paying very good attention to who Melissa is and what she has been doing for the past decade.
mirmac1 said…
"I have heard several people wonder if you are being paid by the union given how much time you seem to be putting into this."

Holy Cow! Sorry, David Brewster, but your services are not wanted here! Melissa may give you a pass but I find that kind of sleaze despicable. Would these "several" people be those that mounted the email campaign against McLaren and Peaslee? Or is "Judy" Swahili for Big Fish Greer?

Frankly, I am glad someone is doing the deep dive that I would warrant 98% of petition-signers have not done. Isn't that the pro camp's strategy? Obscure and obfuscate? Heaven forbid voters have actual facts, data and research. Ain't it all about "data-driven" decision? Right.
Anonymous said…
Judy - Melissa sees the bigger picture when it comes to education policy. If you don't think charters are an important issue to fight, then you haven't been paying attention. I'd invite you to read some of the postings on Diane Ravitch's blog ( if you need to catch up with where the rest of the country is and what Wahington may face. Once you start down that road to privatization, there's no going back. NCLB opened the door with the Bush admin allowing for supplemental services (i.e.tutoring, etc) to be done by outside agencies like Sylvan/Kaplan and receive public funds to do so. If you'd like Washington State to become the next Florida or Arizona, full of unproven charters that segregate kids based on class and race, and vouchers sending kids to parochial or private schools with public taxpayer dollars, then sign the petition and go volunteer for one of the billionaire-funded fake-Democrat groups backing the initiative rather than criticizing someone who spends her own time researching and speaking up about things she believes in.
And no, I'm not being paid by the union either. In fact, I pay them, and quite honestly, I wish they did as much research as Melissa (and Charlie and Dora, etc.)

Anonymous said…
Melissa, forget working for anyone, just start a non-profit.

Public School Parent
Anonymous said…
Wow, I am just a regular parent who posted a concern - trying to warn Melissa of what I am hearing out in the community - and in the space of a few posts, I have been accused of being David Brewster, Greer, etc. The truth is I am just another citizen like yourselves posting an honest concern, and your immediate reaction is the "conspiracy theory." I believe I gave Melissa credit for the work she has done on district oversight. So I'm obviously not a hater. I am starting to understand why so many people refuse to post on this blog. Toxic. Good luck, Melissa. Your vocal supporters are driving me away.

- Judy
Charlie Mas said…
Judy, your advice to an activist was to not be such an activist.

Think about it for a minute.
mirmac1 said…
Sorry if you feel offended Judy but reread your posts. Would you appreciate hearing such hearsay after devoting thousands of unpaid hours protecting the interests of all kids in our district? "What?! Are you on their payroll?!?"

Seriously. I'm just a regular parent too. Note that Melissa doesn't argue in her defense so I will. If I "mistook" you for David Brewster, it is because he has: used insinuation and hyperbole to advance his rag, capitalized on "payola" "journalism"; and then pled poverty for a handout. If I compare you unfavorably to Frank Greer it's because he colluded with Michael DeBell to smear the latter's compadres. Sure, it's not a nice thing to be mistaken for these folks.

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