We launched Parent Revolution just over three years ago on the weekend of President Obama's historic inauguration, because we felt as though his campaign was a proof point that community organizing and grassroots movements can lead to transformative change. As progressives, we believe that the status quo in public education is unacceptable, particularly for low-income students and students of color, and that empowering parents from marginalized and disempowered communities is a necessary and vital step towards transforming public education so that every child has access to the great public school they deserve.
We certainly do not stand alone in this fight - the movement to reform and transform public education is filled with progressive leaders and organizations from around the country. Progressive mayors such as Mayor Villaraigosa, Mayor Kevin Johnson in Sacramento, and Mayor Cory Booker in Newark have all helped lead the way on kids-first education reform. Congressman George Miller, a progressive icon and leading liberal voice in Congress, and Rahm Emanual, President Obama's former chief of staff and the Mayor of Chicago, are both ardent supporters of Parent Trigger.
President Obama's Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has been a key leader on education reform and supports the Parent Trigger law. And without President Obama's leadership and visionary Race to the Top program, Parent Trigger would still be a far-fetched idea rather than the law of the land for 22% of America.
It was with great disappointment, then, that I read Jim Newton's LA Times column this morning, chronicling the series of bullying tactics that certain defenders of the status quo are using to try to purge anyone who supports reform from the progressive movement. The article is astonishing, chronicling how theCalifornia Federation of Teachers even threatened to pull their support from President Obama's re-election campaign unless the campaign fired one of our former employees who they had recently hired to work for the campaign in California.
Click here to read Jim's column in today's paper
That's right - apparently working to empower parents to transform their children's failing schools is so offensive to the California Federation of Teachers that they would rather see President Obama lose this election than allow someone from Parent Revolution to go work for the President.
We are calling on the California Democratic Party and other progressive leaders to put a stop to these bullying tactics. The progressive movement cannot and must not start blacklisting other progressive people and organizations simply to further one organization's narrow ideological agenda. There is too much at stake for the future of our schools and our nation to engage in these sort of underhanded bullying tactics that weaken, not strengthen, that movement.