New presidents usually appoint at least one member of the other party to a cabinet post to advance bipartisanship and national unity. A perfect choice for President-elect Donald Trump would be Gloria Romero, a former Democratic majority leader in the California senate with impeccable reform credentials, including a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Riverside.
She has been university professor and trustee of the Los Angeles Community College District, so she knows all levels of the nation’s school system.
In 2010, Dr. Romero pushed through the California Legislature the nation’s first school “trigger” law. It allows the majority of parents at a malfunctioning school to vote to pull the “trigger” to install an entirely new school administration. In Trumpian language, the parents say, “You’re fired!”
The new school administration could be part of the traditional school system, or it could be an innovative charter school.
In the heavily Democratic Legislature, it was quite an accomplishment for her to push through the reform, technically called the Parent Empowerment Act, garnering bipartisan support from both the Democratic majority and the Republican minority. The law has been upheld in the courts.
As a Latina, she especially has been concerned about Latinos and blacks badly served by the current school system. Commonly they are stuck in the worst schools with the worst teachers, with no way out.These are the kinds of students President-elect Trump has pledged to lift up into educational excellence.
Her solution: the trigger law, charter schools and other school-choice reforms. As she wrote earlier this year in the Orange County Register, “With charters, parents can ‘vote with their feet’ and choose the school – rather than being forced by their address to enroll their child in a school that even the state of California recognizes as chronically underperforming. Teachers unions also oppose charter schools because charter school teachers and staff are not mandated to pay union dues as a condition of employment.”
It’s called competition, something President-elect Trump knows a lot about.
And school choice, in addition to helping the kids, would be a blow against a major Trump nemesis: the far-left teachers unions. NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia screeched in October, “The rise in vitriolic speech in classrooms and the anxiety this causes for some of our most vulnerable students shows that Trump’s rhetoric is far more damaging than previously imagined.”
The top school union leader in America is ignorant of the country’s long history of nasty, contentious presidential elections. It’s called democracy. It’s messy. But it’s kept us free for 240 years. The alternative is one-party rule, which California itself now effectively has (see the state’s U.S. Senate race), with those not showing perpetual smiley faces dumped in the gulag.
I’ve known Dr. Romero for more than a decade. Over the years, I’ve written many columns and editorials backing her great reform efforts.
If you know someone on the Trump transition team, please pass this article on to them. Our new president couldn’t make a better choice than Gloria Romero for U.S. secretary of education.
Do it – for the children.
Longtime California columnist John Seiler currently is writing freelance. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org