from the L.A. Times article:
Risk-taking charter school operator Steve Barr is launching an effort through which parents would wrest political control of the L.A. school system from unions, school bureaucrats and other entrenched interests.
The plan is for parents to form chapters all over town and improve schools, one by one, using the growing leverage of the charter school movement. The goal is to unite a city of overworked and isolated parents with a brash promise:
If more than half of the parents at a school sign up, Barr's organizers say they will guarantee an excellent campus within three years. They call it the Parent Revolution.
With parents, they predict, they'll have the clout to pressure the Los Angeles Unified School District to improve schools. They'll also have petitions, which Barr and his allies will keep at the ready, to start charter schools. If the district doesn't deliver, targeted neighborhoods could be flooded with charters, which aren't run by the school district. L.A. Unified would lose enrollment, and the funding would go to the charters instead of to the district.
Based on past performance, the school district would be challenged to meet parents' heightened expectations, Barr said. "We're not trying to prove the district is doing things wrong. But our kids are at stake."
The Parent Revolution "has never been raised with me," (LAUSD Superintendent Ramon C.) Cortines said. "I'm somewhat taken aback by this, but I look at a traditional school and a charter school as choices for parents. I think that competition is healthy, but I don't think any of us have all the answers. We should be collaborating." [ed. note: this guy's a bigger loser than the Admiral. Word. -DL]
On a recent night in Tujunga, before Parents Union organizer Mary Najera could even begin her pitch, she listened to parents unload at a neighborhood gathering.
Among concerns: Local activist Lydia Grant [another pesky ed. note: Lydia is a Friend of Beckford and a tireless activist in her community - DL] was worried about the lack of outdoor lighting at the nearby middle school; people felt unsafe after dark. A grocery store worker said that her disabled daughter had been taunted in school by gang members and that no adult had intervened. A third woman complained of a teacher who called her daughter "lazy" and a "loser." Formerly an A student at a private school, the girl is feeling lost after one semester in her crowded public school that she said was not nurturing.
Parents couldn't sign Najera's petition fast enough -- and the Parents Union had not even targeted Tujunga. Mark Twain Middle School in Venice and Garfield High in East L.A. will be the first to officially take part.
A man suggested they call their affiliate the "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" chapter.
Najera assured them: "This is a legitimate threat to the school district. And this is how we have to play to be heard. This is going to steamroll."
Things are starting to get infinitely more innerresting, ain't they???