I thought I knew everything there was to know about education reform! But this WSJ article describes is a new tactic, a direct attack by parents on a failing school, called the “Parent Trigger.”
The average student in Los Angeles has only a 50% chance of graduating high school and a 10% chance of attending college. Ben Austin, leader of “Parent Revolution”, a Californian liberal activist group, says, It’s a crisis that calls for “an unabashed and unapologetic transfer of raw power from the defenders of the status quo”—education officials and teachers unions—”to the parents.”
Under “Parent Trigger,” which became law in January, if 51% of parents in a failing school sign a petition, they can trigger a forcible transformation of the school—either by inviting a charter operator to take it over, by forcing certain administrative changes, or by shutting it down outright.
To California’s teachers unions, the parent trigger is anathema. To the law’s sponsor, Democratic State Sen. Gloria Romero, it represents “the power of a signature, the John Hancock in the hand of every parent in a school deemed to be failing.”
“If it can pass in California, it can pass anywhere,” says New Jersey State Sen. Joe Kyrillos, who plans to introduce his parent-trigger bill as soon as this month. Mr. Kyrillos is confident his bill will pass.
Stay tuned: By Christmas one group of Los Angeles parents will announce that it’s reached 51% support for a charter conversion. The defenders of the status quo, no doubt, are readying for battle.