The press finally wakes up to Parent Trigger scam

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 to charges on both sides of harassment and deceit.” This campaign is at Desert Trails Elementary School in rural Adelanto, Calif.

Though the sky-high likelihood that a Parent Trigger would rip apart a community has been evident all along to anyone with a clue, especially anyone who spends time in schools, the mainstream press has generally been bewitched by this new silver bullet. The Parent Trigger was created by the billionaire-funded AstroTurf (fake grassroots) organization Parent Revolution, which in turn was founded by then-charter school operator Steve Barr of Green Dot Charter Schools.

Gullible editorial boards all around California chorused their enthusiastic support when the Parent Trigger first hit the news. To be clear and fair, the news coverage by the author of the Feb. 19 Los Angeles Times article, Teresa Watanabe, has been gush-free and professional all along, in sharp contrast to that by some of her embarrassingly duped colleagues. (Disclosure: Watanabe and I were co-workers years ago at the San Jose Mercury News, though I barely knew her.) Still, this is the first article that has truly brought out the damage done by the Parent Trigger.

In the most prominent quote in Watanabe’s Feb. 19 article (what’s called the “nut graf” in the business), Desert Trails parent Julie Rodriguez says: “They lied to me, and now it’s a big old mess.”

That quote perfectly sums up the Parent Trigger and Parent Revolution situation overall – even as state after state prepares to fall for it. Let’s hope that Watanabe’s piece marks a tipping point for the press coverage, and that policymakers take the cue and see this panacea for the scam that it is.

Posted on by CarolineSF Posted in Uncategorized

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