Parents Pull the “Trigger” on Failing School

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A WSJ Editorial describes how parents are petitioning to convert their public school into a charter school.  Highlights:

It could be a shot heard ’round the education world: This morning in Compton, California, more than 260 parents will pull the first ever “parent trigger” in a bid to transform a failing public school.

Under a California law passed in January, parents can trigger a change in governance at some 1,300 schools that have failed to make “adequate yearly progress” for four consecutive years. If at least 51% of the parents sign a petition, they can shut the school down, shake up its administration, or invite a charter operator to take over.

Compton’s McKinley Elementary School has made adequate progress only once since 2003…

Thus the parental uprising. “Parents operate on a different clock than district bureaucrats,” says Ben Austin of Parent Revolution, a liberal group assisting McKinley parents. “Kids get older every year. We can’t freeze-dry our kids and wait for your pilot programs to pan out.” More than 60% of McKinley parents have signed the petition to free the school from the Compton Unified bureaucracy and install charter school operator Celerity Educational Group to run it instead.

Celerity already runs three Los Angeles-area charters that serve students similar to those at McKinley with far greater success.

None of this is going down well with the bureaucracy or the California Federation of Teachers, whose president has called parent trigger a “lynch mob provision.”

Celerity is ready and waiting to take over McKinley, the district has no legitimate reason not to facilitate the switch.

The biggest obstacle to education reform has long been overcoming the inertial forces of unionized bureaucracy. Parent trigger is a revolutionary shortcut, and bravo to the parents in Compton for making the leap.

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