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How we work with Parents

Parent Empowerment Act

How we work Nationally

OUR HISTORY

Parent Revolution launched in January 2009 with a mission to change the focus of our public education system from one centered on powerful adult interests to one that puts kids first. 

The success of our education system depends on every stakeholder coming together for the sake of our children’s success.  But, far too often our current education system ignores the voice of a vital stakeholder – parents. 

We aim to change this by empowering parents to transform their own children’s underperforming schools and using community organization to advance a real kids first agenda.  

History: First Steps

Parent Revolution has been instrumental in organizing parents around several kids first policies.  In August 2009, we took the first steps towards a kids first agenda by working closely with a team of reform-minded organizations to pass Public School Choice (“PSC”).  Through PSC, families and communities within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) were provided with new tools and opportunities to improve their local public schools.

History: Victory in Sacramento

A few months later, in December 2009, parents marched on Sacramento to demand real power to fix their children's failing schools.  Parents voiced strong support for California’s Parent Empowerment Act, often called the "Parent Trigger" law, that allows parents at underperforming schools to demand real improvements if the parents organize the majority of parents at their children’s school.  Parents were tireless and passionate in their efforts.  They ultimately obtained a historic victory: the California Legislature passed of the country's first-ever Parent Trigger law in January 2010.

History: Recent Victories

Since that historic victory, Parent Revolution has worked side-by-side multiple parent groups across Southern California on successful, hard-fought campaigns based on grassroots organizing techniques.  Empowered parents successfully organized themselves and their communities around a kids first agenda. 

Because of the organizing efforts of these courageous parents, children at five different schools returned to the 2013 school year to find their underperforming schools transformed – with real plans in place to improve for the future, 

And because each of these five schools and communities is different, the resulting transformative change is unique to each of school.  Parent used their collective power to make their voices heard and achieve that much needed change.  Together, these five schools form a mosaic of parent empowerment and school transformation. 

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HOW WE WORK WITH PARENTS

In states with Parent Trigger Laws, Parent Revolution supports parents by empowering them to transform their school.  We equip parents with knowledge, train them in organizing, and support the actions they take to improve their local public school.

With the help of our community organizers, parents develop leadership skills and organizing techniques that help them to identify and build relationships with other parents, community members, teachers, administrators, and the school board.

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Once enough parents are engaged, trained, and committed to collective action, the parents organize to form a “Parents Union Chapter.”  A Parents Union Chapter is an independent, parent-led, parent-based, membership organization whose objective is to improve their community school.

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Parents Union Chapter members dedicate their time to maintaining an up-to-date understanding of the challenges at their school.  Parent Union members work to collectively advocate for an agenda that puts kids’ interests first.

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PARENT EMPOWERMENT ACT – “PARENT TRIGGER LAW”

Often times, parents face deeply rooted barriers when trying to advocate for a kids first agenda at their children’s school.  If this is the case, California parents (as well as parents in other states with Parent Empowerment laws) have the option of launching a Parent Trigger campaign.  

What is a Parent Trigger Campaign?

If a school has been consistently underperforming, a majority of parents can exercise their right to petition for one of the several transformation options – 


  1. Bring in new school leadership (e.g. principal)
  2. Bring in new school staff (replacement of at least 50 percent of staff)
  3. Bring in new school management (convert school into a non-profit independent school (charter) or engage in charter relationship with existing school district).
  4. Use a Parent Trigger campaign as leverage to bargain with school and district leaders for kids first changes needed at their children’s school.

What Schools Are Eligible?

While there are technical definition that can be found in the Parent Empowerment Act for your state, generally only schools that have been identified as “systematically or persistently failing” are eligible for parents to use the Parent Trigger.

In California, to be eligible, a school must:

  • Be in Program Improvement Year 4 or above
  • Have an API score under 800
  • Not be part of the federal  “School Improvement Grant” program.

What Happens After a Parent Trigger Campaign?

Change takes time, but can be advanced year by year with sustained engagement by committed parents.  The Parent Trigger Campaign is just one step in a longer process of parent engagement.  This process of engagement is sustained by an active local Parents Union Chapter.  The Parents Union Chapter will remain vigilant to ensure that the changes parents worked for are being implemented and that additional needs are addressed.

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HOW WE WORK NATIONALLY

In states without Parent Empowerment legislation, we work with local, like-minded partners to build a base of parents committed to fighting for a Parent Empowerment laws.  To accomplish this, we support local groups and coalitions in their efforts to advise policy makers on legislation that empowers parents.  We also conduct trainings and workshops, share resources and expertise, and provide other sources of support for allies and partners.