Our History

Parent Revolution launched in January 2009, on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday and the weekend of President Obama’s inauguration.  Our organization was based on a simple promise to parents – organize half the parents at your children's failing school to demand change, and we will stand with you and empower you to fight for the great school your children deserve.

Parents began organizing at schools across Los Angeles, demanding schools and policies that put the interests of their children first.  And in August 2009, parents won an early and enormous victory when the school board of the Los Angeles Unified School District - led by Board Member Yolie Flores - passed their historic Public School Choice resolution.  (To learn more about our successful campaign to pass LAUSD Public School Choice, click here).  Parent Revolution, along with other reform-minded community organizations, was closely involved in all aspects of passing the resolution, including the famous 3,000 parent rally outside of district headquarters on the day of the vote.

A few months later, in December 2009, parents marched to Sacramento to demand real power to fix their children's failing schools through the recently introduced "Parent Trigger" law.  Although the law was written off as impossible to pass by almost every political prognosticator in the state, parents were relentless, and ultimately won a history victory, passing the country's first-ever Parent Trigger law by just one vote in both houses of the state legislature.  On January 7th, 2010, California's Parent Trigger was signed into law.  (To learn more about California's Parent Trigger law, click here).

In April 2010, Parent Revolution's Executive Director, Ben Austin, was appointed to the State Board of Education.  In his nine month tenure on the board, Ben voted and took leadership roles on a variety of crucial issues, supporting comprehensive new teacher evaluation policies, implementation of the Common Core curriculum, and drafting the first ever regulations to shut down California's lowest performing charter schools.

Less than a year after the Parent Trigger was signed into law, the parents of McKinley Elementary in Compton, CA made history as the first parents to ever successfully use the Parent Trigger law.  On December 7, 2010, a group of 50 McKinley parents marched down to Compton Unified's headquarters and submitting signatures from over 61% of their school demanding its transformation.  (To learn more about the historic McKinley campaign, click here).  

While the McKinley parents continued their months-long fight with Compton Unified - who were eventually slapped with a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction by an LA Superior Court judge for their attempts to disenfranchise parents - they also joined together with parents from Los Angeles, Lynwood, and around the state to demand the State Board of Education pass fair, comprehensive, and empowering regulations for the Parent Trigger law.  Ben and all other reformers had been fired from the State Board on Governor Brown's first full day in office, and once again, political prognosticators from around the state predicted doom for the Parent Trigger regulations.  But parents were relentless, with hundreds of parents taking overnight bus trips from Compton to Sacramento for four consecutive meetings to demand strong regulations.  In the end, Gov. Brown and the new State Board listened, and passed comprehensive and pro-parent regulations that will set clear rules and timelines, empower parents to effectively use the law, and protect parents from harassment and intimidation by district officials and employees.  (To learn more about the parents' successful advocacy effort at the State Board, click here).

In April 2011, Parent Revolution launched its new organizing model, centered around building autonomous, school-based, parent-only organizations called "Parents Union chapters" to empower parents to fight for change.  Parents at schools throughout California are now forming Parents Union chapters at their schools to engage their peers, develop policy demands that will improve academic achievement at their schools, and use the Parent Trigger and other tools to fight for kids-first change at their school.  (To learn more about our organizing model and how to start a Parents Union chapter, click here).