A controversial movement to increase parental authority over public education is quickly gaining traction in Pasadena.
A parent group recently forced a change in the principal’s office at Jefferson Elementary School, and organizers are now setting their sights on John Muir High School.
At Jefferson, where enrollment last year was more than 85% Latino, a group of Spanish-speaking mothers long at odds with school administrators has organized under the banner of Parent Revolution, advocates of California’s “parent trigger” law.
Under the law, if a majority of parents whose children attend an underperforming public school file a petition, they can impose drastic changes ranging from replacing teachers or administrators to converting campuses to charter schools.
Maribel Sanchez, a mother of three Jefferson students and a Parent Revolution member, was among those seeking change at Jefferson.
Sanchez and more than a dozen other parents, many of them school volunteers, began calling in early 2010 for the removal of Jefferson Principal Hoori Chalian. They said children received inadequate supervision during lunch and did not have enough time to eat, and were forced to use dirty bathrooms — but most of all contended that Chalian ignored their concerns.