In Cudahy, parents collected more than 600 signatures demanding a new principal. In Culver City, they fought attempts to unionize classroom aides and formed a group that elected a school board majority.
In Los Angeles, parents are organizing for more effective school disciplinary practices. And hundreds recently flocked to a Sacramento hearing to demand a voice in shaping rules for the state's new school funding plan.
This may well be the new look of parent power. While the PTA and other school-based groups used to be the primary vehicle for parent involvement, a plethora of new organizing models has proliferated — many of them reaching out to immigrants to boost their activism in schools. "The face of parent involvement is definitely changing in California, as it should, given that 70% of our state's population under age 25 are youth of color," said Mary Lou Fulton, senior program manager at the California Endowment, the state's largest healthcare foundation.