Guest post by Katie Ash, cross-posted from the Charters and Choice blog.
For the first time since California’s controversial parent-trigger law was passed in two years ago, Los Angeles parents and staff now have guidelines from the Los Angeles Unified School District’s board to help them navigate the complex process.
The law allows certain low-performing schools to be overhauled if signatures can be collected from a majority of parents of children in the school who want to take that step.
The guidance requires schools affected by parent-trigger efforts to hold public meetings to present accurate information about the school to community members including an analysis of the past five years of school data, a summary of interventions attempted at the school and the success of those interventions, and an analysis of the school’s report-card data.
The document also specifies that school employees cannot interfere with or impede the signature-gathering process using district resources such as copiers, paper, or bulletin boards. Furthermore, staff may not distribute flyers, leaflets, or other materials on campus or during work hours.
On the flip side, signature gatherers cannot offer gifts, rewards, or other tangible incentives to parents in exchange for signing a petition, nor can they disseminate false information about the school or false promises to parents to persuade them to sign—a criticism raised by school staff in places where the law has been invoked.
The law has been successfully called upon in two LAUSD schools—Weigand Avenue Elementary School and the 24th Street Elementary School. At Weigand Avenue Elementary School, the principal was removed, and at the 24th Street Elementary School, the principal left and the teachers there were forced to re-apply for their jobs.
The guidelines will be released in conjunction with a two-day training for employees in schools that may be subject to parent-trigger efforts. Read the guidance, pulled from the LA school board meeting notes, below.
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.