California Parents Prepare to Fire School
Group plans to use state's Parent Trigger law
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2012 4:51 AM CST
Ben Austin, Executive Director of the Parent Revolution, addresses who are organizing parents unions to reform their schools.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – The Parent Trigger is cocked and ready to fire at an underperforming elementary school in California. A 2010 state law gives parents the power to take over schools, and a parents group at Desert Trails Elementary outside Los Angeles plans to do so if the district doesn't overhaul the institution, reports the Wall Street Journal. Under the law, if more than 50% of parents sign a petition, they can force the district to close the school, convert it into a charter school run by the parents themselves, or fire the principal and teachers.

Parents in Compton tried to use the law last year but that effort is tied up in the courts. Desert Trail parents say they reached out to the nonprofit Parents Revolution group after school administrators ignored their concerns for years. Parents Revolution says the Parent Trigger law helps give parents a way to counter the power of school districts and teachers' unions. "Right now, we have a duopoly that hasn't served kids," the group's deputy director says. "Parents are the third leg to the stool."