Families & the Community News in Brief

California ‘Parent Trigger’ School Opens Its Doors

By Sean Cavanagh — August 06, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The first school to come into being as a result of a “parent trigger” law has opened its doors.

The Desert Trails Preparatory Academy, in Adelanto, Calif., welcomed students late last month after a tumultuous process led by a group of parents who said they wanted to change the leadership and direction of what has been an academically struggling school serving grades K-6.

The effort to create the new school roiled the community and touched off a legal battle, in which a judge ultimately ruled that the parents invoking the trigger policy had met the legal standards to go forward with their plans. The website of the former Desert Trails Elementary School lists four other attendance options for students for the 2013-14 school year.

Parent-trigger laws typically allow for the overhaul of a low-performing school, and potentially the removal of its administration and staff, if signatures can be collected from a majority of parents of children at the school who agree to take that step.

Backers of those plans see them as grassroots initiatives to bring immediate and dramatic improvements to schools that have resisted change and shown no signs of improving soon. But detractors say trigger policies divide communities—they cite the Desert Trails fight as an example—and leave parents at the will of outside operators who potentially have little investment in producing a better school.

California was the first state to approve a parent-trigger law, in 2010. The initial undertaking to use the state law to redesign an academically struggling school, in the Southern California community of Compton, disintegrated in political and legal turmoil.

Despite the fights on display in California, legislators in other states have been drawn to trigger laws. As of spring, at least 25 states had considered parent-trigger policies, and seven of them had adopted laws establishing the policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 07, 2013 edition of Education Week as California ‘Parent Trigger’ School Opens Its Doors

Events

Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Families & the Community What Happens to the Lost-and-Found Mound at the End of the Year?
Most schools deal with lost-and-found piles as the school year ends. Some work with outside partners to recycle items for students in need.
5 min read
Dark gray laundry basket full of childrens' items with a white sign that reads "Lost Property"
iStock/Getty
Families & the Community Opinion What Student Impacted You Most as a Young Teacher?
Paying attention to students and their families can provide some of the most valuable lessons to teachers.
2 min read
Mike Nelson reads to his students.
Mike Nelson reads to his students.
Mike Nelson
Families & the Community Q&A How These District Leaders Turned Family Engagement on Its Head
Two Leaders to Learn From share insights on what family and community engagement entails.
7 min read
Families & the Community Video ‘A Welcoming Place’: Family Engagement Strategies for Schools (Video)
Schools that enlist parents as partners see positive results. Here's how to do it.
1 min read