Connecticut Union Anti-"Parent Trigger" Strategy Raises Colorado Questions

Earlier this year the Colorado legislature considered a bill by state representative Don Beezley that would have empowered parents of students in low-performing schools with new options to turn around those schools. Unfortunately, the “parent trigger” bill was shot down by the House Education Committee.

Now, anyone in the know could tell you that the “parent trigger” is hardly an idea unique or original to Colorado. A major version of the idea has taken off in California, and a number of other states have weighed similar proposals. Like Connecticut — where Dropout Nation’s RiShawn Biddle this week exposed an internal American Federation of Teachers (AFT) document giving a transparent look at the union’s anti-parent power strategy and tactics.

Biddle later posted a follow-up after the union’s initial reply, noting:

As players in American politics, they can strategize and share information on how to beat back their opposition. The fact that it ends up weakening the role of parents in education decision-making means that school reformers (some of whom are skeptical of Parent Trigger laws) and Parent Power activists must work harder in their advocacy. And it also means that families and grassroots activists must see the political game for what it is and play accordingly.

Mike Antonucci notes the level of “distress” the discovery has caused AFT president Randi Weingarten. Meanwhile, an Education News report fleshes out more of the story and shows

Yes, Education Week‘s Stephen Sawchuk is largely correct in noting that the AFT document “doesn’t really tell us much of anything new about the union’s priorities or positions.” But it never hurts to remind us students, many of whom right now are experiencing the effects of the “summer slide.”

And it also makes you wonder about what happened to Colorado’s version of the “parent trigger,” and which groups did what behind the scenes not simply to water down the legislation (as happened in Connecticut) but to kill it….