After weeks of negotiations and a day-long drama in the state Assembly, supporters of parent rights to have a direct say in their children’s education by a single vote shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The action, subject to agreement of the Senate by a single vote, makes the state eligible for $700 million in badly-needed federal money under the Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” legislation.
The Assembly votes represented a stunning defeat for the Califiornia Teachers Association which threw all its clout behind blocking provisions that allow parents whose children attend failing schools to enroll them anywhere and give them them right under the “parent trigger” which allows a majority of parents at failing schools to replace all staff or take less drastic reform measures.
It also was a surprising victory for the LA-based Parent Revolution, founded by Ben Austin, which developed the “parent trigger” provision.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican legislators fully backed the parents rules elements but Democrats opposed them for the most part.
Austin provided hourly reports during the day as the legislation was split into two bills, one with the federal eligibility measure, the other with the parent rights provisions.
The measures were approved by the Education Committee and then the Appropriations Committee and then went to the Assembly floor where “Race to the Top” was passed 44-17 but the parent rights bill got only 40 votes — one short of a majority.
The final tally was 41-27.