A Lifeline Amidst All the Noise

There has been a lot of talk of late about moratoriums on charter schools school choice and sadly, the loudest cheerleaders for it have been organizations that marginalized parents would hope to be able to lean on for support as they work to find the best and right schools for their children.

But amidst all the noise and polarizing debates, parents in Los Angeles do have support from Parent Revolution, a non-profit whose sole mission is to educate parents about their options for their children’s education and help them navigate the process of researching, understanding, making decisions, and actually applying.

We think it is important that families know about all their options,” said Seth Litt, the organization’s executive director. “We intentionally want to support school choice for families and students who might otherwise not have the resources to be active choosers of quality.

And Parent Revolution is heavily armed with information for parents.  They have created school profiles for every type of school in the area that include test scores in reading and math, student and teacher attendance rates, and graduation and college-preparatory completion rates for high schools.   

They are also well versed in deadlines and admissions processes and can help parents not only compare schools but also gauge the likelihood of their child getting into schools with limited seats. They are well versed in schools with a specific focus --- art, music, science -- and they are willing and able to accompany parents to visit schools and even meet with school officials.

Parent Revolution is not without controversy. As an entity that unabashedly supports school choice and receives funding from well known charter supporters, vocal detractors are a given. But their support for and use of “parent trigger” laws since 2010 have put them squarely in the crosshairs of the education wars.

Status quo protectors are always wary of parent power and Parent Revolution has worked hard to empower parents who far too often are left out of the education conversation and who find themselves marginalized when it comes to accessing high quality schools. The parents who most need a voice.

Parent Revolution has been celebrated and criticized for working to organize parents to take control over low performing schools, leading in some cases to the ousting of school administrators or the turning over of control to charter operators.

But there is no doubt that for many parents, the services and comfort provided by Parent Revolution have been a lifeline in an educational landscape that can seem overwhelming and full of lousy options. They are unequivocal in their belief that parents must have a seat at the table if progress for all children is to be made in the K-12 space.

Parent Revolution believes that Parent Power is an important part of a healthy education ecosystem, but has been underutilized as a tool to help drive change for children. Parent Revolution sees organized, informed, and empowered families as a crucial constituency that should have a seat at the table and can significantly accelerate the rate of progress for students, schools and communities. (excerpted from their website.

Information is Power

Parent Revolution takes the job of getting accurate school information to parents very seriously. Their school profiles include test scores in reading and math for each specific school and for L.A. Unified as a whole, as well as the average for schools in the area. They also list student and teacher attendance rates and graduation and college-preparatory completion rates for high schools.

While they are often dismissed as being wholly in the charter camp, their results tell a different story. They direct students to the school(s) they believe will be the best fit for a child’s success and that can be a district or charter school. 63 percent of families who take advantage of the counseling offered by Parent Revolution applied to both district and charter schools and apply to 4.3 schools.

While policy makers and academics argue about teacher evaluation and charter caps, parents just want one simple thing: the very best school for their child.

Parent Revolution believes that all parents deserve just that. So while arguments and insults are exchanged over Twitter by folks whose kids are already in good schools, parents in Los Angeles will continue to reach out for help to get their own children, equally deserving of an excellent education, into the best schools they can.