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  • Parents “Trigger” Reform in California

    Since last January, every parent in California of a child in a failing public school has had the legal right to petition and invoke one of four turnaround models. Yesterday, in a revolutionary move, parents at McKinley Elementary School, part of the Compton Unified School District, did just that, becoming the first in the nation to use the “parent trigger” to convert the failing school into a charter school.

    The parent trigger enables parents to reform a failing public school in one of four ways: (1) They can convert the poor-performing public school into a charter; (2) they can opt for a district turnaround, replacing half the staff and bringing in new leadership; (3) they can invoke a transformation in which the district replaces the principal; or (4) they can increase their parental bargaining power to make school-wide changes. While all of the turnaround options are meaningful, parents in Compton have chosen the most innovative.Once parents have decided on one of the four options for reforming their children’s failing public school, they produce a petition to circulate. Once the petition has the signatures of parents representing 51 percent of the students at a school, the petition goes to the district, constituting an order to begin the turnaround. The Wall Street Journal reported on the move by Compton parents yesterday:

    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. … 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.”

    Parent trigger has support from Democrats including Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Washington, D.C., schools chief Michelle Rhee and even Rahm Emanuel now that he’s running for mayor of Chicago. Legislators in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland tell us they will introduce versions of parent trigger in the coming months.

    The New York Times picked up on the story, writing, “In essence, [the parent trigger] is a union for parents.”

    The parent trigger is certainly a breath of fresh air for students in failing public schools in California. The parent trigger has the potential to be an extremely useful new tool for parents in the fight for quality educational options. But it should be the beginning of bold reform options nationwide that empower families with robust school choice options.

    When the education unions are mad, you know you’re on the right track. And when parents are empowered, you can be assured you are. The parent trigger has accomplished both in California and will hopefully begin a wave of parent- and student-centered empowerment throughout the country.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Parents “Trigger” Reform in California

    1. Bobbie says:

      Power to the Parents! Way to go, California! We knew the fruits and nuts only hold government office! The state I reside is run by mixed fruits and mixed nuts.

      With all seriousness though, with the good people of Compton rising, it's the right setting for the rest of us to demand top education back in local public tax paid schools! No union necessary! They only protect their interests and the derelict who are unqualified!

    2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Parents “Trigger” Reform in California | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    3. Todd Coykendall, Alb says:

      In response to:

      "The New York Times picked up on the story, writing, “In essence, [the parent trigger] is a union for parents.”

      I disagree. The parents are not getting inflated wages/salaries, exorbitant pension plans, or near-total job security out of this.

    4. tom7001 says:

      “Michelle Rhee has fired over 1000 teachers and administra¬tors over questiona¬ble "test scores" , and replaced them with Teach for America candidates¬. This program, supported by Federal Grants, can enter the classroom after five weeks of training. This greatly increased her operating budget, making her look good, but at whose expense? I wonder how she would rate her own performanc¬e during her three year teaching stint, she publically admits to taping students mouths shut, and some bleeding upon removing the tape! Will this be part of her new school reform? What does she need the billion dollars for? Sounds like the self proclaimed “Michelle Rhee first campaign”! For more on her corruption charges just google “Michelle Rhee corruption”…

    5. Barry N. Schmidt says:

      Hey…it is obvious that the CTA would be against such a move. The CTA (a union) cares less for the students than it does about its own power.

    6. Cincinnati OH says:

      tom7001, based upon no evidence other than your comment, I strongly suspect that you are an NTA member. No doubt Ms. Rhee has skeletons in her closet and the teachers unions will do there best to make sure that ever little issue becomes a capital offense.

      That said, what is the greater offense, occasionally taping a disruptive students mouth shut or putting an ever growing number of students on the street unprepared for life.

      The teacher's unions do not have the students' best interest in mind. For decades parents have listened to school administrators. We have increased funding to build new facilities, reduce class sizes, put teachers aids in the classroom and add ever increasing numbers of supervisors, counselors and administrators. The result has been even poorer results. It is high time that our schools and government be held accountable. After decades of failure it is high time for real change.

      Thank you Compton for having the guts for taking real action. I call this the "Shot heard round the world" in America's War of Independence from governmental and educational oppression.

    7. Greg Clements, Round says:


      All of those folks mentioned in the article are corrupt…they are after all, Democrats! I am suprised that they would support anything that goes against the interests of the teachers unions, but I am sure that there is some money going to them somehow.

      Despite that, giving parents more control (and the responsibility that goes with it) over their children's education is the right way to go.

    8. Mark says:

      When Parents can direct the Education of their children, and the Teachers Union has little influence, this seems to be Win, Win. This model of education is what has been needed for years. The cost to operate Charter School Model is about 70 – 80% of standard public schools.

      If this could be a National Referendom on how Education Dollars are spent with these options being for all Children and Parents in every school in America.

      Its hard to argue with RESULTS…….

    9. Leslie Schmid, Jeffe says:

      It's about time the schools took parents seriously! Our children and their well-being continue to be our concern long after they leave school. Responsible parents want good schools for their children. I'm glad there's a law giving parents more power in their children's education.

    10. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I wonder if the Parent Trigger touches the real problem in the Public Schools, horrible Humanist Curriculum and Perfectly Crazy (PC) California dreaming instead of real Education. Change the name of the School, call it "new." Call it 'charter' but Public Education ought to teach Civics, the Constitution, History (not the Socialist crap), and anything but socialization. There is no such thing as a Post Industrial Era, that is Junk Science Economics. Teach kids how to actually do something!

    11. Corky, Howey in the says:

      It will only be a short victory before the A.C.L.U,, unions and Eric Holder get involved in this. But, until that time comes I am so please to see real Americans standing up and taking a stance on education..We can do more folks in 2012…

    12. Mae, California says:

      Bravo to the brave Compton parents who are sick and tired of the failing school situation. Their courage to "pull the trigger" will set the example for other parents to stand up for their children, too, and perhaps California will have a chance to pull itself out of the low ranking it currently has in the nation.

      Unionists should not be allowed to protect incompetence, administrators should not be afraid to write a honest teacher evaluation, and tenure should not be allowed to continue as it stands.

    13. Tyler, Upper Darby, says:

      It is gratifying to see the U.S. finally begin to wake up. From the Tea Party's efforts, and now the parents of Compton, the real bosses are finally moving to “turn the rascals out” and make the long needed changes to fix this country bit by bit. It won't be easy or pretty, but responsible and caring citizens must fight to put political correctness and big government where it belong, in the history books and nowhere else.

    14. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      When I was in high school in the '70s, I heard that teachers in inner city schools, are paid combat pay. In the
      private sector, unions have lost membership since their peak in the 1950s. It's only in the public sector that unions are still hanging on by their fingernails. It's time to stomp on the unions' fingers and let them fall to their

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