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

(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."

Ben Austin, Executive Director of the Parent Revolution, addresses who are organizing parents unions to reform their schools.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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We've been complaining for years that our school needs some help and nobody was listening, so we are taking it into our own hands. - Doreen Diaz, whose daughter is in
5th grade at Desert Trails

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