Parents angry over report on union tactics

HARTFORD, Conn. — Lawmakers and parents are outraged over a report detailing how the American Federation of Teachers successfully pressured Connecticut legislators to water down a bill intended to give parents more power over failing schools, the Hartford Courant reported.

Titled “How Connecticut Diffused the Parent Trigger,” the PowerPoint report describes the union’s efforts to derail the legislation as well as its role in at least one legislator’s subsequent electoral defeat, according to the Courant. The PowerPoint was posted at the AFT’s website and later picked up by the blog DropoutNation, an education reform site, the Courant reported.

Connecticut parent advocates and members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus wanted a “parent trigger” bill that would give 51 percent of parents at a failing school who signed a petition the ability to force change, according to the Courant.

The final legislation instead calls for parents to hold a majority of seats on school governance councils and authorizes them to recommend changes if the schools fail to meet federal guidelines for three consecutive years, the report said.

The PowerPoint presentation said that the governance councils “are advisory and do not have true governing authority,” the Courant reported.

The presentation has since been removed from the AFT website, and the union has said the report did not reflect its position, the Courant reported.


Hartford Courant, “Report By Teachers Union Angers Lawmakers, Parent Advocates In State,” Aug. 4, 2011-08-05


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “PowerPoint Postscript,” Aug. 20, 2010