As we celebrate Independence Day and remember how the Founding Fathers helped American citizens seize power and liberty from a despotic British monarchy, it is also important to remember that we must help families take control of American public education so their children can get the learning they deserve. Even as Louisiana has joined four other states in enacting Parent Trigger laws that allow families to take over and transform failing schools, there are folks such as once-respectable education historian Diane Ravitch and shoddy-thinking Salon contributor Josh Eidelson, who engage in the kind of unseemly propaganda and rhetoric against these laws (and school choice) that can only come from those willing to keep other people’s children in educational, economic, and social despair.

In this Best of Dropout Nation from July 2011, Connecticut Parents Union President Gwen Samuel explains why parents must seize power in education, demand high expectations, and push for the overhauls in teaching, curricula and school cultures needed to help their children — and all kids — succeed in school and in life. And, in the process, she proves why the intellectually and morally dishonest Ravitch (along with other education traditionalists) are wrong in opposing Parent Trigger laws in the first place.

Over the past two years, parents in three states have succeeded in implementing Parent Trigger laws, giving families the power to turn around systemically failing schools that are not meeting the needs of our children. Yet, there are many states in which passage of some form of Parent Trigger law has hit roadblocks from those unwilling to allow parents to have a legal say in how their children are educated.

Education’s status quo argues that parents are not capable of making good educational decisions for our children; therefore we must accept any type of decision that they make on behalf of our children. They expect parents to place our children in dangerous, poorly staffed, extremely low performing school systems in which parents aren’t welcomed, teachers and principals aren’t being held accountable, and our children fail.  They don’t want any form of fiscal accountability for student outcomes. In short, they expect parents to sit quietly on the side lines, while our children, are denied their right to a quality education; the type of education that will give them a fair chance at life.

To each and every parent in states in which Parent Trigger laws are being opposed, I say, you need to protect your children and defend their right to a high-quality education that exposes them to the skill sets needed to graduate high school prepared to enter and graduate from a traditional or technical college. They deserve nurturing schools in which everyone who works within or with them should be meet high expectations and hold them to the same. They should have access to a high quality education that gives them the tools they need to engage in civic life. Anything less is unacceptable!

This means each of us needs to be living and breathing Parent Triggers, no matter what the status quo tries to do.

If we saw a speeding car headed towards a child, parents would run like the wind to get that child out of harm’s way. If we know our children need protection from illness, we take our children to the doctors to get immunization shots. If we get alerts about outbreaks of E-coli and Salmonella bacteria harmful to our children and ourselves, we would teach our children to wash their hands more frequently and take more precautions when preparing food. We teach our children to stay away from strangers because we want them to be safe wherever they are. And we do this because we want to protect our children, our most-precious loved ones, from harm.

The sentiments with which we address physical and medical harm to our kids we must do when it comes to education. We must trigger our instincts to protect our children from schools that are failing to meet the quality of education needed for our children to be productive citizens in life. Because f they graduate high school, unable to read, minimal problem solving and analytical skills, and unable to do grade level math, they will not be successful in life.

Our children need us to become their Parent Triggers. Let’s take up that cause for them.