For the first time ever, parents are using a law in California that allows them to petition the government to take over a school that they feel is not meeting their needs or their expectations for great education for their students. Read the full story below, which was first published in La Weekly, and was written by Patrick Range McDonald.
For the first time in California, and possibly in the United States, parents are poised take over a chronically failing public school through a new state law called the Parent Trigger. The action will likely send shock waves through education circles across the country.
The historic event will take place in Compton this morning when parent leaders drop off a petition at Compton Unified School District headquarters and utilize the trigger to assume control of McKinley Elementary School. Given behind-the-scenes access, L.A. Weekly will run an in-depth feature story later today on its web site.
Parent Revolution, a Los Angeles-based education reform group headed by former Bill Clinton aide Ben Austin, has helped gather signatures and organize parents since mid-September. During the past several weeks, the organizing team has largely flown under the radar of Compton Unified officials and powerful teacher union leaders, who detest the Parent Trigger.
Parent Revolution organizers had to collect signatures from at least 51 percent of parents whose children attend McKinley Elementary to start the process of taking over the school. The field team of five women gathered signatures of little over 60 percent, while also organizing a core group of 15 parent leaders.
The petition drive calls for a charter school, operated by Celerity Educational Group, to be established at the site of McKinley Elementary. If things go as planned, Celerity will start classes this summer.
Push back will likely come from Compton Unified School District board members, but McKinley Elementary parent Shemika Murphy tells the Weekly, “If it’s going to make the school a better place, I don’t understand why they would fight against that.”
Parent Revolution organizer Shirley Ford, a mother from South L.A. who has fought numerous education reform battles, says, “The Parent Trigger finally gives parents the opportunity to make real decisions about their children’s education.”
McKinley Elementary parents will hand over the petition to Compton Unified officials sometime around 10 a.m.
- California’s Parent Revolution (online.wsj.com)
- Education Filmmaker Interviewed on MSNBC (eon.businesswire.com)
- New Compton Representative Seated on Metropolitan Board (eon.businesswire.com)
- Unwrapping Red Tape to Find the Gift of Family (nytimes.com)
- Compton schools chief ousted after probe found $14,000 in personal charges to district credit card (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- An Education Reform Success Story (edreformer.com)