I think about former Senator Gloria Romero comparing Compton educators to "batterers" and wondered whether the writers of those words ever stop to think about the consequences of their prose. — Martha Infante
DFER veneer for right-wing "parent trigger" laws wears off, and more and more people see the privatization agenda for what it is, charlatans like Gloria Romero and Ben Austin have been scrambling to hide or minimize their ties to right wing extremists. The good news is that it isn't working, and that aside from shills like Andi Rotherham and Alex Russo even mainstream media journalists are starting to see through what the distinguished Professor Diane Ravitch refers to as the "Parent Tricker." Josh Eidelson's "Parent trigger": The latest tactic for fighting teachers' unions is a good example.
Professor Ravitch has brought the duplicity of parent trigger laws to the fore nationally. Her Mayors Support "Parent Tricker" Law was so powerful, that it elicited a response from none other than Gloria J. Romero herself. We'll get back to that in a moment.
I watched the original parent trigger unfold. Not that it was easy, given that all proceedings were carefully orchestrated to take place during obscure sessions between the Thanksgiving and New Years holidays (to minimize input from school advocates). The trigger was part of California's failed Race to the Top application. It was not written outright by ALEC to the best of my knowledge. But it was drafted largely by Bill Lucia of Ed Voice with a great deal of input from Ben Austin of Parent Revolution. Nearly all of the key testimony in support came from Lucia. I was surprised to learn that Romero claimed authorship as she was unable to respond to many of her colleagues questions, deferring to Lucia.
There may be links between ALEC and EDVoice, they do certainly share the privatization agenda, desire to eliminate local school boards, and strip teachers unions of their rights. The trigger is now model ALEC legislation, but it may not have originated there.
Romero claims to represent parents. I am a California public school parent and I can assure all that she does not speak for me. I would ask her if she is so supportive of parents, why is there no on going role for parent voice leadership in her bill post-trigger?
Activists present at the hearings for charter trigger laws all bear witness to Django's assertion that Romero couldn't answer questions about the law that she now claims she wrote single-handedly with little or no input from any one else. Django's intutions about EdVoice are spot-on, both in terms of their links to ALEC, but also to their role in privatization in general. EdVoice is another astroturf group that works with Eli Broad's EdTrust, the California Charter Schools Association, and their proxy group Families That Can.
Back to Romero's poorly crafted response to Professor Ravitch. It's telling that the piece doesn't appear in a forum considered remotely progressive or even liberal for that matter. Indeed, the American Center for School Choice is a fringe-right organization headed up by John Birch Society types like the infamous John E. Coons. No surprise that Romero has been relegated to such venues, she and her right-wing DFER have lost all credibility with her own political party as evidenced by the fact that Los Angeles Democrats want her to stop pretending. I had some choice words for Romero's Eastside Latina posturing:
Now that her ties to fringe right-wing groups are being exposed, the reactionary former State Senator is trying to revise history. Fact is that the corporate charter trigger is an ALEC template law. Quibbling over whether Ms. Romero penned her version first or not is not unlike saying that George Wallace didn't create Jim Crow. The chronology of the vile trigger laws is unimportant, what is important is how they undermine democratic processes and serve only to grow market share for the lucrative charter-voucher industries.
For all her mendacious blustering about segregationist ideas like 'choice' coming from women of color, the truth is that Ms. Romero's true inspiration comes from her employer and allies, all of whom are wealthy white males, like Whitney Tilson of DFER and Terry Moe of The Hoover Institution.
Much of this is documented in the essay: Peas in a pod: Koret Foundation, The Hoover Institution, and Democrats for Education Reform.
I'll give you credit Ms. Romero, your packaging of the corporate agenda under the guise of "civil rights" seemingly goes over well with the John Birch Society crowd you pander to. Those of us that selflessly volunteer for social justice in those very same communities you claim, see right though your lies and obfuscations.
In the same venue parent activist and journalist Caroline Grannan sums up DFER like only she can:
I know Democrats for Education Reform has "Democrat" in the name. Founder Whitney Tilson has said publicly that this was a ploy to obscure the right-wing goals of the organization.
The fact that DFER and their supporters are scrambling to save face speaks volumes to the hard work activists and social justice writers have done in terms of exposing their agenda, funders, and associations. That said, there's much more work to do. Privatization is far too profitable a project for the privatizers to give up on just because they've sustained a little public relations damage. We need to continue to expose these charlatans and their designs to light. We must defeat the "parent tricker," and all other attacks on the public commons.