Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The "Parent Trigger"

From the major Sacramento newspaper:
Chanting "yes we can!" and "si se puede!", a busload of parents on Tuesday became the first in California to try to force reforms at their children's failing school using a new law empowering parents to demand change.

The group of Latino and African-American parents delivered a petition signed by 62 percent of parents at McKinley Elementary School to Compton Unified Acting Superintendent Karen Frison.

The campus ranks in the bottom 10 percent of California's elementary schools. With the petition, the so-called "parent trigger" law mandates the campus be converted to a charter school next September...

The action was a landmark in the school reform movement. California was the first state in the nation to adopt a parent-trigger law, which stipulates that a district must make radical changes at a school that has failed to meet progress benchmarks for four years when at least 51 percent of parents sign a petition for reform.

Parents choose the reform they want - conversion to a charter school, replacing the principal and staff, rebudgeting, or even closure.

California's law was adopted in January and inspired a similar law in Connecticut. Six other states, including New Jersey and Michigan, are now considering parent-triggers.

While I'm all about parental influence and options, I wonder what the unintended consequences of this law will be.


W.R. Chandler said...

Cynical Me, speaking: I would love to know how many of these parents who are up in arms are the same parents who would defend their kid to the end when s/he is causing a ruckus at McKinley Elementary and contributing to the reason why the school is such a basket case.

Just sayin'

Steve USMA '85 said...

Unintended Consequence?

The State will lower the progress benchmark so the school will meet it in the fourth year. Can't meet the standard - lower the standard.

maxutils said...

my problem with charters has always been -- give parents a choice, and the ones who care will move. you let them move, and you suction off the students who would have been good at the original school. then, you get to teach the hand picked few while paying the teachers less, and claim that's the better mo0del. it isn't.

Darren said...

As a parent, wouldn't you prefer to send your kids to a school that shared your values, or a school with a focus on something your kid is really into, rather than any ole school? I would.

Ellen K said...

One would hope that the parents would stay on top of the situation and demand a faculty and school that were accountable. Unfortunately, that's where it will end. The parents will lay all the blame and responsibility at the door of the school and not enforce the basic concepts of attendance, work and behavior. I've seen too many charter schools that ended up as cash cows for some family that shortchanged the kids while enriching themselves on the taxpayers' dime.