Parent Revolution needs to stop lying about the California Teachers Association. Over the past several days that organization has, predictably, sent out attacks blaming CTA for their failure to reach the parent majority signature threshold needed to invoke California’s new parent trigger law at Desert Trails Elementary, a struggling school in the Southern California desert community of Adelanto. Because what’s been happening in Adelanto has been a local, parent-driven effort, CTA has made every effort to take the high road, to ignore Parent Revolution’s ridiculous attacks on us, and to steer media focus back to Adelanto, the chaotic parent trigger law, and to the concerned parents and educators grappling with important issues there. But as Parent Revolution continues to lie and overstate our role, and to use press releases to forward false allegations, we’d like to set the record straight.
CTA’s role in Adelanto
Here are the facts: Our local affiliate, the Adelanto District Teachers Association (ADTA), has one CTA staff person who lives in the high desert community, and who works with ADTA and with many other CTA affiliate chapters in the area on a myriad of issues like contract negotiations, professional development, grievance processing, building strong community relations, and general problem solving. After the parent trigger was pulled at Desert Trails, school parents who opposed the petition (some of whom had not even been approached to sign or given an opportunity to voice their opinion), asked to meet with ADTA to discuss ways to redress the situation, if possible. Having been more or less blindsided and not included in the trigger effort discussions, and hearing different things from different parents about what the petition actually meant, they sought discussion with ADTA in development of a parent-led effort to have conversations and clarify what petition signers had been told, to provide forums for open discussion, and to allow people to state for the record their experience if in fact petitioners had not followed the process correctly.
The CTA local staff person, who, again, is not assigned full time to Adelanto, invited colleagues with additional expertise in charter school law and bilingual community outreach to provide Spanish language translation help and to provide explanations of the parent trigger and charter school laws. Those two CTA staff members were in Adelanto on a very intermittent basis. Other local high desert teachers who live near Desert Trails were invited in to assist parents. Area teachers who could provide insight into local reform efforts that were improving achievement at schools in surrounding districts also offered assistance. All of this was a back seat to and in support of the local, parent-led effort to get the truth out.
Lies, lies, and darned lies
Yet Parent Revolution continues to send out breathless press releases and fabricate or hallucinate “cadres of CTA operatives flown in from Sacramento,” when there is absolutely no truth to this. Their Executive Director, Mr. Ben Austin, is simply making things up. And while making these utterly false (and mostly irrelevant) charges, Mr. Austin never mentions the fact that Parent Revolution has had a paid, full-time organizer and additional help in Adelanto, and that they paid to rent a house up there as a headquarters (where it’s reported they held a hastily arranged “parent movie night” to conflict with a scheduled open parent forum organized by anti-trigger parents).