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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Head to Head: Should state support its 'parent trigger' law? A resounding 'Yes!'

On Tuesday, in the SacBee, Pia Lopez, a Sec Bee Columnist and Ben Boychuk of the Heartland Institute wrote this very instructive op-ed on California's Parent Trigger Law, what it is, what does, and why it should be supported.

Ben Austin, Executive Director of The Parent Revolution joins me on Saturday night on KRLA, 870AM at 11PM Pacific Time for a conversation on this issue!

THE ISSUE: California enacted the nation's first "parent trigger" law last year, giving parents the right to petition their school board to transform schools that are underperforming. Pia Lopez and Ben Boychuk share uncommon agreement: This law should be preserved.

The assault on California's year-old parent empowerment law – better known as the "parent trigger" – offers liberals and conservatives a rare opportunity to defend a unique reform that advances the common good, promotes freedom of choice, and uses a time-honored democratic process to force the public education system to adopt changes it would otherwise reject.

The parent trigger is a modest law – fewer than 600 words – but it has the potential to upend the public education status quo. Simply, if at least half of eligible parents at a persistently underperforming school sign a petition, school district officials must undertake one of four options prescribed by state and federal law.

The first test will come in the Compton Unified School District, in southern Los Angeles County. On Dec. 7, 62 percent of parents at McKinley Elementary submitted a petition requesting that the school board convert the school to a charter school.

Meanwhile, a group of parents at Mount Gleason Middle School in the Los Angeles suburb of Sunland are circulating a petition to replace the school's principal.

Click here to read more.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database


Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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