If you have a taste for hypocrisy, the controversy over the
parent trigger law is delicious.

when considered in light of a running controversy over a similar principle in a
different context, the so-called "card check" power for union organizing.

What are
these two things?

The parent
trigger is a new California law that allows anyone who gathers signatures from
a majority of parents at a school to demand big changes in the school, including
the takeover of the school by a charter company. While the regulations remain
to be worked out, the parent trigger is at this point mostly unregulated. The
petitions are not secret, not are the signatures. Parent organizers don’t have
to inform the school district or anyone like that. (And in the first test case,
in Compton, the organizers worked secretly).

"Card check" refers to the
legislation, pursued by the labor movement, to permit the organizing of
workplaces via the signing of cards by a majority of employees in the
workplace. This would be a change from the current federal system requiring
secret ballot elections.

Now comes
the fun part.  Advocates of "card check"
and of "parent trigger" make the same argument for the same principle: that, given
the realities of taking on a school district or a big corporation, a major
change should result simply from getting a majority of signatures on a piece of
paper. These advocates reject as groundless the suggestion that parent
organizers or union organizers would use coercion or intimidation to get

Of course,
the advocates of "card check" and "parent trigger" are not the same people.

In fact,
labor unions that support "card check" are strong opponents of the "parent
trigger." Teachers’ unions opposed "parent trigger" and are now working to add
regulations and rules to protect parents from the intimidation they describe as
inherent in this sort of open-signature process.

And on the
same side, some of the big corporate types who are funding the "parent trigger"
and other education reforms object strenuously to "card check" provision for
organizing workers. Card check is undemocratic and ripe with abuse. Only a
secret ballot election is proper. But would they say the same about "parent

The fights
over "card check" and "parent trigger" are about many things. But they are not
about principle.