Sunday, August 14, 2016

I am Eli Broad and I approve this Ad: A nonprofit that favors school choice offers help to Los Angeles Unified parents - LA Times

A nonprofit that favors school choice offers help to Los Angeles Unified parents - LA Times:

A nonprofit that favors school choice offers help to Los Angeles Unified parents

Jaqueline Chamol was looking at test scores online and was unimpressed by Gardena High, her son’s neighborhood school, but she wasn’t sure where to turn for help with other options.
Then, at a local charity fundraiser, she met organizers from Parent Revolution. Since January, the nonprofit has helped nearly 300 South Los Angeles families complete applications for schools, providing them with customized research, advice and, in some cases, even representation at schools.
“We think it is important that families know about all their options,” said Seth Litt, the organization’s executive director. “We intentionally want to support school choice for families and students who might otherwise not have the resources to be active choosers of quality.” 
For some, Parent Revolution is a controversial choice itself. Since 2010, the group has used the state’s “parent trigger” law to organize parents to take control of local public schools with low test scores. In some instances, parents have voted to replace administrators or to turn campuses over to charter school operators.
Parent Revolution’s main funders are well-known charter supporters, leading some to speculate that the group’s agenda is to promote, and recruit for, those schools.
 “There is no downside to an objective outreach and information program if it is truly about information and objectivity,” said L.A. Board of Education President Steve Zimmer. “I am interested in how Parent Revolution might set aside their tools of combat and assume a role more based in collaboration than competition. For way too long, the approach of Parent Revolution and the orthodox choice advocates has been to promote one kind of school — usually a charter — at the direct expense of district schools.”

Charters are independently run and free from some rules that govern traditional public schools. Most are non-union. Their growth is one factor placing serious strains on the L.A. Unified schools budget.
Although Parent Revolution’s new effort coincided with plans by other groups for a massive charter school expansion, the organization insists it has tried to be evenhanded as it assesses the 120-plus schools in its eight-square-mile target area. 
“We did a lot of research to understand where higher-quality schools still had open seats, both on the district and charter side, and made sure to present those options to families as places they were more likely to get in,” chief strategy officer Gabe Rose said.
Parents who went through the counseling applied to an average of 4.3 schools, according A nonprofit that favors school choice offers help to Los Angeles Unified parents - LA Times:

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Astroturf lobbying refers to political organizations or campaigns that appear to be made up of grassroots activists but are actually organized and run by corporate interests seeking to further their own agendas. Such groups are often typified by innocent-sounding names that have been chosen specifically to disguise the group's true backers

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