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How ideas like the Parent Trigger fall in and out of favor

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By Caroline Grannan, San Francisco Parents Across America Founding Member There are times when we see public opinion or the tone of media coverage shifting noticeably. I blogged about such a shift earlier today, when I posted about a Los Angeles Times article that focused on how a Parent Trigger campaign is ripping a disadvantage school community apart. That focus marked a significant shift from the overwhelming positive, unquestioning news coverage the Parent Trigger has received in the past. This …

The press finally wakes up to Parent Trigger scam

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By Caroline Grannan, San Francisco Parents Across America founding member The Parent Trigger, an education reform fad that started in California in early 2010 and is now being pushed as a miracle solution around the country, may have finally lost its magic with the mainstream media. The Feb. 19, 2012, Los Angeles Times ran an article about the latest (of two total) Parent Trigger projects, focusing on charges that the “campaign has divided the campus, destroyed friendships and given rise …

More deception by fake "reformers" in latest Parent Trigger move

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By Caroline Grannan Parents Across America founding member, San Francisco The so-called Parent Trigger continues to be peddled nationwide as a cure for challenged schools, despite a track record of zero successes and a history of misrepresentation by its backers. The Parent Trigger is a process that allows parents who collect enough signatures on petitions to close their school or “force change,” including turning the school over to a charter operator. In the latest Parent Trigger twist, parents at Desert …

Why the press promotes the powerful, marginalizes dissent

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By Caroline Grannan Parents Across America founding member, San Francisco The press attitude toward corporate education “reform” has baffled me for more than a decade – since the national mainstream media was championing the education fad of that era, for-profit, New York-based Edison Schools – and beating up on the school board here in San Francisco for attempting to hold one Edison charter school here accountable for its commitments. As a newsroom veteran myself, I thought of my colleagues as …

The Parent Trigger fails in California

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By Caroline Grannan, San Francisco Parents Across America founding member The Parent Trigger is a school reform idea that was hatched here in California, has won glowing press and is still being discussed around the nation as a school reform panacea. The Parent Trigger supposedly allows 51% of the parents at a school to petition for “transformation” at the school, in one of four ways: turn the school into a charter, close the school, fire the principal, or restructure in …

Students choke on "reform" when lunch is 10 minutes long

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So-called education “reform” means teaching to the test, narrowing curriculum — and truncating lunch to 10 or 15 minutes. School food advocates object in a post on the popular The Lunch Tray blog. As I explained in a comment on the blog, educators aren’t the ones who think insanely short lunches are a good idea. As this commentary mentions, they are under intense (seriously intense, crushing) pressure from the non-educators who control our nation’s education policy. The truncated lunches are …

In California, it's billionaires vs. the PTA on testing 2nd graders

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I’m sharing information from the Educated Guess forum (run by the reform-minded Silicon Valley Education Foundation). State standardized testing has been imposed on second-graders here in California for quite a few years – in the ’90s, standardized testing began at third grade. California state Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) has sponsored a bill that would eliminate standardized testing for second-graders. According to Educated Guess, the bill – backed by the California state PTA, the California School Boards Association, state Superintendent of …

Revolution Foods feeds the ed-reform hype

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What could be more admirable than an attempt to improve school meals? And making a profit by doing that can only be beneficial to everyone, right? That’s what San Francisco Bay Area-based Revolution Foods has convinced a lot of people, anyway. The private-sector enterprise has won acclaim for supposedly bringing better, healthier, fresher school meals to school cafeterias. Only trouble is, Revolution Foods claims that it can do that for the amount public schools receive from the government for school …

Jonah Edelman on outfoxing teachers' unions: Transcribed remarks

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UPDATE: We just received a transcript of the whole session here. Recently we posted  the observations of Susan Barrett, a disaffected parent member of Stand for Children, which started as a grassroots organization in Oregon that has now gone nationwide; and, as Susan argued, changed its goals, governance and tactics along the way. Jonah Edelman,  its founder and the son of children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman,  has raised millions of dollars in funds from the Gates and Walton Foundations, as …

Where have all the KIPPsters gone?

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By Caroline Grannan, San Francisco [Charter schools] have a distinct advantage … Their families have already chosen to be at a charter and have often jumped through numerous hoops to get there. This makes it easier for charters to create their own cultures. They can define the length of their days, dictate exactly how children dress and enforce strict codes of conduct. Those students — scholars, in charter parlance — who fall out of line don’t last. – Jonathan Mahler …