Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Parent Trigger Premieres in Adelanto, not Hollywood
While Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis may be playing the roles of parents taking action to close failing schools on film, it's a group of parents in Adelanto, California who are actually doing it in real life.
A California judge ruled that parents of students attending Desert Trails Elementary School had met the requirements under California’s revolutionary parent trigger law—a law championed by former state Senator Gloria Romero that allows parents to petition a poorly performing school to close. Under the law, if 51 percent of parents sign a valid petition, the school must undergo major reforms including reopening as a charter school or sending students to different public and private schools, through school vouchers. And while California might be the first state where parents have moved to reform a school, parent trigger laws also exist in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The Adelanto Elementary school district serves more than 8,000 students—24.8 percent of whom live in poverty and 81.6 percent of whom receive free and reduced-price lunch. Reuters reports that only one in four students are proficient in math, reading, and writing when they graduate. In math, only 10 percent of eighth graders are proficient.
Education reformers around the country have talked about enacting the legislation and whether it’s a good idea. But now, we’re going to see if students attending Desert Trail Elementary School in Adelanto will perform better as a charter school or using scholarships to attend other schools.
“This is a huge milestone in our struggle for our children to receive the basic education they are entitled to and deserve,” said Doreen Diez, a parent who led the petition charge.
School Choice Now! and families across the country will keep watch on the developments in Adelanto. It will be exciting to see the transformations in the lives of the students thanks to parent empowerment.
- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG