Families & the Community News in Brief

Parent ‘Trigger’ Law Draws Attention, Controversy

By Ramsey Cox — January 11, 2011 2 min read
Parents in Compton, Calif., in early December prepare to file petitions seeking to have McKinley Elementary School turned into a charter school in the 2011-12 school year. Parents, from left: Marlene Romero, with son, Ivan, 8; Ismania Guzman, with daughter, Alexandra, 6; and Shamika Murphy, with daughter, Kiari, 7.

Education advocates and organizations are closely scrutinizing the first use of California’s “parent-trigger” law, after parents in Compton, Calif., last month invoked the new statute to decide their children’s failing elementary school must become a charter by the 2011-12 school year.

Similar laws are being considered across the country even as controversy swirls in Compton, where some parents are trying to block the charter school conversion, arguing the other parents’ actions were not taken in a public enough way and were influenced by outside groups.

The California state board of education is trying to open a dialogue between both parent groups and asked the state attorney general to investigate the accusations of an underhanded process.

Still, the Dec. 7 petition by a group of parents at the low-performing McKinley Elementary School in Compton could add momentum to a push in other states for similar legislation, in the view of Robin Lake, associate director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

The California law, passed in January, allows 51 percent of parents at a school that has failed to meet “adequate yearly progress” requirements for three consecutive years to sign a petition that prompts one of four actions: converting to a charter school, replacing the principal and staff, changing the budget, or closing the school entirely.

Mississippi passed a similar law in July, and Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, and West Virginia also are considering parent-trigger laws.

Frank Wells, a spokesman for the Southern California Teachers Association, which is affiliated with the National Education Association, said he is concerned that the law does not require a review of the petition process.

“Some parents who signed the petition are now saying they weren’t educated on the issues when they signed the petition and would like their signatures removed,” he said.

On Dec. 15, the California school board asked the state attorney general to investigate complaints about the petition process.

Karen Frison, the acting superintendent of the 27,000-student Compton Unified School District, said the district would launch a parent-empowerment initiative that would allow for a conversation about the parent-trigger law, the petition process, and the four options parents have.

Parent Revolution, a pro-charter parent coalition based in Los Angeles, led the charge for the parent-trigger law and helped the Compton parents with the petition, which received the signatures of 62 percent of those with children at McKinley.

A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2011 edition of Education Week as ‘Parent Trigger’ Law’s Use in California Draws Controversy, National Attention

Events

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
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
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
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
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD

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 Opinion Vaccinating Teachers Is Just One Part of the Reopening Puzzle
Winning parents' trust back is every bit as important in bringing every student back into the classroom.
Ruth Faden, Matthew A. Crane, Annette Anderson & Megan Collins
5 min read
Vaccine vials and a syringe on a flat surface
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty<br/>
Families & the Community Photos PHOTOS: Schools as COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
A look at how and where school districts are using their facilities to host Covid-19 vaccination clinics.
Education Week Photo Staff
1 min read
Vaccine recipients meet with shot givers at the Anchorage School District headquarters. The Anchorage School District headquarters hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, on February 3, 2021.
Vaccine recipients meet with shot givers at the Anchorage School District headquarters. The Anchorage School District headquarters hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, on February 3, 2021.
Marc Lester/for Education Week
Families & the Community Audio A Storm, Power Outages, and a Pandemic: Texas Educators and Families Describe a School Year Upended
On top of the deadly pandemic, millions of people in Texas lost heat and water for days after a winter storm. Hear how families and educators coped.
2 min read
Jack Fitzgerald, 14, an 8th grader at Hogg Middle School in Houston, Texas, plays Rocket League at home this week when school was cancelled because of icy weather and widespread power outages. Jack's family had to stay with friends briefly when their home lost power and indoor temperatures plunged.
Jack Fitzgerald, 14, an 8th grader at Hogg Middle School in Houston, Texas, plays Rocket League at home this week when school was cancelled because of icy weather and widespread power outages. Jack's family had to stay with friends briefly when their home lost power and indoor temperatures plunged.
Courtesy of Ginny Goldman
Families & the Community Leader To Learn From Relying on Community Values: How One School Leader Advocates for Vulnerable Families
Carissa Purnell’s work at the Family Resource Centers in Salinas, Calif., is a lifeline for families, many of them migrant farm workers.
7 min read
Carissa Purnell, director of the Family Resource Centers for the Alisal Union School District in Salinas, Calif.
Carissa Purnell, director of the Family Resource Centers for Alisal Union School District in Salinas, Calif., provides essential services and critical information to vulnerable families.
Nic Coury for Education Week