Lawmakers at 3:30 p.m. took the final steps to pass and send to the governor two education bills to make California competitive for President Barack Obama's "Race to the Top" funds.
One bill has a revolutionary new provision allowing parents to petition school boards to turn around a failing school. These boards then would have to implement one of four aggressive strategies by the next school year -- including closing the school, turning it into a charter school or reconstituting the school.
Unfortunately, the California Federation of Teachers has chosen to label this parent trigger as the "lynch mob provision."
This led one observer in the Capitol to wonder, "Is it racist or just flat out ignorance that the CFT thinks of parents, largely Latino and African-American parents, as a lynch mob?"
And now, the Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network founded in New York City in 1991 by Rev. Al Sharpton, has called for an "immediate and public apology":
For teachers to refer to parents' desire to assist in the education reform process as a "Lynch Mob provision" is extremely divisive, repulsive, and horrifying, said Pastor K.W. Tulloss, president of Los Angeles National Action Network. Teachers using belittling language when referencing African-American and Latino parents is not accepted from people that teach our children. This debate must be about ideas, not twisting and abusing racially charged language. We're saddened that an organization that represents so many teachers of higher learning would use such an inappropriate name when referring to parents. This is an historic day for parents in California. We demand a public apology from CFT.
The letter is signed by nine religious and civic leaders: Rev. K.W. Tulloss, National Action Network Los Angeles; Pastor Max Rodriguez, Weller Street MBC; Pastor Bill Hemphill, Concord Community Church; Pastor Torrey Collins, St. Rest Baptist Church; Pastor Al Johnson, True Samaritan Church; Pastor Fredrick Howard, South Side Bethel Family of Purpose Church; Melvin Snell, Los Angeles Humanity Foundation; Pastor Nathaniel Haley, United Christian Baptist Church; Pastor John Navarro, Praise Chapel, Boyle Heights.
Parents are tired of having their kids stuck in failing neighborhood schools and they deserve to have real recourse, as the newly passed bill gives them. These long-suffering parents certainly do not deserve the abuse that has just been heaped upon them (we can all hope in error) by the CFT.