Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing editor of The Federalist, a web magazine on politics, policy, and culture. She is also a former managing editor of School Reform News. In that capacity, Pullmann interviewed and produced podcasts with many of the leading figures in school reform. Before that, she was the assistant editor for American Magazine at the American Enterprise Institute.
Latest posts by Joy Pullmann (see all)
- Surveillance Isn’t The Solution To America’s College Woes - May 29, 2015
- The Civil Disobedience Charles Murray Wants Has Already Arrived - May 26, 2015
- Ted Cruz Gets Common Core Way Better Than ThinkProgress Does - March 27, 2015
The Tampa Bay Times printed a flattering story of how “parent groups” stopped the Parent Trigger legislation in Florida recently. Unfortunately, the reporter completely bought the labels of this “grassroots” “coalition of disparate, but determined parent groups.” Indeed, it’s reflected in her lead:
It was one of the hardest-fought battles of the legislative session.
On one side: a coalition of disparate, but determined parent groups.
On the other: former Gov. Jeb Bush and the powerful school choice lobby.
I did have to laugh that she considers the school choice lobby powerful, but makes no mention or comparison of their power compared to teacher unions, their most consistent and much better (publicly) financed foe.
A simple set of Facebook and Google searches reveals that the parents and groups she cites have obvious ties to teacher unions (some are members, nearly all are public school teachers, some of the groups get union funding). This, of course, raises questions about the groups’ grassroots nature and their honesty in opposing the Trigger. One of them, Parents Across America,is a subgroup of another that receives union funding, for example, and uses it to oppose the Parent Trigger everywhere in the name of parents everywhere.
The problem with their advocacy is not that these are parents–who would dispute or want to dispute that?–but that they also are individuals with a vested financial and philosophical interest in combatting mechanisms that give parents of kids in failing schools some options. That’s something the public deserves to know in articles about them, especially when Trigger advocates get tarred as “big money” “lobbyist” organizations.