As long as the controversial education reform policy known as the parent trigger has been around, so have allegations that on-the-ground parents who support the initiative, often in poor communities of color, have been deceived into a carrying a policy that’s backed by high-powered corporate interests. Not so, says Doreen Diaz, a parent who is in the midst of using the policy to overturn her kids’ failing schools in Adelanto, California. And now, Diaz, writing in a blog post for the Examiner, wants American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten to apologize for suggesting otherwise.
It all began during NBC’s education reform extravaganza Education Nation last month, during which the Hollywood version of the parent trigger fight, “Won’t Back Down,” was screened. In a discussion between Diaz and Weingarten, Weingarten said she supported the energy and passion of Diaz and the other parents in the Desert Trails Parent Union. But after the screening, Weingarten criticized the policy they’re using to achieve their reforms.
Diaz hit back at the president in a blog post:
In her memo, [Weingarten] wrote: “Many [of the Desert Trails] parents report feeling deceived by the for-profit charter-backed organizers who came in to gather petitions. They actually sued to take their signatures back when they found out they were being used to give their school away to a charter company.”
Randi Weingarten knows better. The parents of Desert Trails launched our effort. We were the ones who collected those signatures, not some imaginary for-profit company. We also specifically rejected for-profit transformation proposals. The charter was our last option when the school district refused to hear our concerns. We’re offended she would insinuate we are manipulated by outside interests, when our only interest is our children.