By Pablo Jaime Sáinz
A group of San Diego parents gathered this week to kick off a nine-city tour that will encourage parents across California to get involved in their children’s education to foster positive changes in their schools.
Parent Revolution kicked off a nine-city Parent Power Express Bus Tour on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in San Diego with UP for Ed, a grassroots, parent empowerment organization. The two-day tour will engage parent groups and allies across California from San Diego to Fresno, and from Los Angeles to Sacramento, where parents will showcase how they’re transforming their children’s under-performing schools through various efforts, including Parent Trigger.
Parent Revolution is a “Parent Trigger” advocacy group who recently saw some positive influence on the new law in Sacramento.
The mission of UP for Ed is to ensure a kids-first agenda by engaging, empowering and mobilizing parents of San Diego Unified School District.
The “Parent Trigger,” Parent Empowerment law (SBX5 4), is a new law that gives parents in California the right to force a transformation of their child’s current or future failing school. All parents need to do is organize – if 51 percent of them get together and sign an official Parent Trigger petition, they have the power to force their school district to transform the school.
These San Diego Unified School District parents with UP for Ed hope to empower parents to transform under-performing schools and make kids’ achievement a top priority. Of course, they’re greatest population of concern is Latino students.
Parent Gabriela Contreras-Misirlioglu is one of the few Latino parents involved with UP for Ed. She said it is the goal of the organization to encourage Latino parents to become familiar with the educational system in the United States so that they can make a difference in their children’s education.
“Basically, we’re trying to inform parents about our organization so that they can have a voice in their children’s schools,” Contreras-Misirlioglu said.
She got involved with UP for Ed because she said that, even though she was a lawyer in her native Mexico, she was still confused by all the politics and legalisms that are involved in the U.S. educational system.
She said that she realized something was broken in the system when her son’s third grade teacher last year was sent a pink slip. The teacher transferred to a charter school this year because she was tired of the politics and status quo at the school, Contreras-Misirlioglu said.
“I was surprised and mad that the school was going to lose a great teacher because of politics,” she said. “I was disappointed that teachers who really speak up for the kids are silenced that way.”
Contreras-Misirlioglu said she hopes Latino parents in San Diego City Schools will join UP for Ed since Latino students are the majority in the district.
“Hopefully we’ll have a great response from our community, after all, it is for the benefit of our children,” she said.
To learn more about UP for Ed, please visit www.upfored.org.