Lydia Grant is a Local Hero!

Parent Trigger

Lydia Grant: From Quiet Volunteer to Leading LAUSD Reform Firebrand

“Before I came out to the neighborhood council, I didn’t even want to speak at meetings. I was active as a volunteer, but I didn’t have a voice,” explained Lydia Grant, of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council.

Grant is now recognized as a leader in education reform in Los Angeles. She has led delegations to Sacramento in support of major legislation and media sources seek her input on school-related issues on a regular basis.

The problems she witnessed as her three children attended LAUSD schools led her to take an active role in education reform.

Grant recalled, “I had a child at the middle school, and his education was not that great. I ended up having to pull him out and put him in home schooling. Later, he did return to high school. The problem was, he did not really get the education he deserved… There were a lot of things that were cropping up that in my opinion made the school unsafe… The problems had escalated to the point where action had to be taken to protect the kids.”

In 2007, she turned to the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council and found a group willing to assist her in her cause. Grant became the Board’s education representative and insists, “It was not until I was in the Council, and found support among the other members, that I realized I could speak out and change things.”

With the aid of the other councilmembers, Grant became one of the loudest voices in the city promoting the controversial “Parent Trigger” legislation. Under that law, parents of students at persistently low-performing schools may sign a petition and force the district to implement one of four turnaround models.

In 2010, Grant and others from the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council traveled to Sacramento and spoke on behalf of the law. After hearing their appeals, the California legislature became the first in the nation to pass Parent Trigger.

Since then, lawmakers have adopted Parent Trigger in Mississippi and Texas and introduced the legislation in another 20 states. The fight for the law’s passage in California is the subject of “Won’t Back Down,” an upcoming major feature film, starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Grant spends much of her time these days advising other neighborhood councils on education-related issues. She believes in the power of neighborhood councils, because it was through the neighborhood council that she found the confidence to speak out and actually change the problems afflicting her community.

“Neighborhood councils are so critical,” she said. “Each community has a unique voice, and that gets lost when we move away from the community level… The neighborhood councils are the only voice of the people we have left.”

6 Comments

  • Ben Austin

    Aug 10, 2012

    Reply

    Thank you Lydia for your courageous leadership on behalf of the children. Thanks for helping to start a movement.

  • George Buzzetti

    Aug 20, 2012

    Reply

    Lydia Grant is the real deal. She fights for students and the public. She will not be bought and sold. Whether you like of dislike the "Parent Trigger" you have to admire the person who has done so much for the public welfare with so little. I thank Lydia Grant for the help she has given to our society.

  • paepke

    Aug 20, 2012

    Reply

    your one of the most couragious women i know Rock on lydia

  • Bill

    Aug 21, 2012

    Reply

    I'm no fan of poorly thought out legislation like the current version of the "Parent Trigger" and its implementing regulations but I have long been a big supporter of Lydia's and commend her efforts to continue to help her community (and the greater education community in Los Angeles). Thanks, Lydia!

  • Casey Craabtree

    Aug 22, 2012

    Reply

    lydia i still have one in school and right off the bat a teacher started becasuse he hates ME i cant wit til there out and i can get on your band wagon what you do for the school and the kids is amazing and catching these teachers that think thier god and can have power over them and making them not not even to go i promised I WOULD STAY AWAY so my one kid coiuld have a normal school year after during codes years i was wonderful when i was buying the school equipment and i was taking all the cheerleaders everywhere making bows driving them to games and to the beach for pictures now i have the pleage you rock my darling we have to get together soon xxoo

  • Olga Hall

    Aug 27, 2012

    Reply

    You deserve to be recognized after all the effort you have put into it. Parents have so much power if they just allow themselves to use it. You are a great example of what a parent can do.

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