Parent Trigger Coming to LAUSD
Hillel Aron | January 14, 2013
LA School Report has learned that parents at 24th Street Elementary School, in concert with Parent Revolution, have been gathering signatures for a so-called “parent trigger” petition to revamp the struggling school and plan on delivering it to LAUSD offices this week.
Mayor Villaraigosa is a vocal proponent of the parent trigger, along with a handful of other big-city mayors. Teachers unions including UTLA are deeply opposed. It is unclear what positions LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, the Board, and Board candidates will take on the controversial issue, or whether parents at other LAUSD schools will pursue this option.
In 2010, the California legislature passed a law, introduced by then-assembly speaker Gloria Romero (and passed by a single vote in the House and Senate), granting parents the right to replace the administration or turn the school into a charter or even simply dissolve the school and relocating the students.
The first attempt to use the trigger law was at McKinley Elementary in nearby Compton, where parents successfully gathered enough signatures only to have their effort blocked by Compton Unified. The second effort, at Desert Trails Elementary, was just last week approved by the local school board after an 18-month court battle. (see: High desert charter school first success for parent trigger law).
Parents and activists have been working since mid-November and they now believe they have signatures from at least 60% of all parents in 24th St. Elementary, located in a neighborhood sometimes called Jefferson Park. Out of 5,186 elementary schools in California, the school ranks 5,096th in standardized test scores. Among elementary schools, it has one of the highest suspension rates in the district. (Interestingly, 24th St. Elementary is a candidate for Public Choice 4.0.)
If successful, this would be the first use of the parent trigger within LA Unified. Even though the process has never been tried in LAUSD before, the district actually passed a parent trigger law before the state did.