Law & Courts

Parents Form Partnership With LAUSD, Avoid Using Parent-Trigger Law

By Karla Scoon Reid — May 23, 2014 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A partnership agreement brokered between an elementary school parent union and the Los Angeles Unified School District to improve student achievement is being hailed as the first-of-its-kind for the nation’s second-largest school system.

Members of the parent union at West Athens Elementary School and Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy signed the agreement Friday.

West Athens parents opted to avoid using the state’s so-called “parent-trigger” law, which allows parents to petition to force districts to implement sweeping education changes at chronically low-performing schools. Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa, reports this week that few states are following California’s lead to grant parents’ the power to mandate school reforms.

Yet the mere existence of California’s Parent Empowerment Act, and the contentious struggle some schools experienced using the parent-petition process, may have influenced the negotiations with West Athens’ parents, even if it was unspoken. (Read my story about the state’s first parent-trigger school here. Parents at another Los Angeles-area elementary school petitioned for the removal of their principal earlier this year.)

Gabe Rose, deputy executive director of Parent Revolution, a parent-trigger advocacy group, said the West Athens partnership agreement signals an “interesting shift” regarding how Los Angeles Unified administrators engage with organized parents. Parent Revolution helped organize and support the West Athens’ parent union.

“The reality is setting in for folks,” Rose said. “The parent-trigger law is incentivizing people to act differently.”

Angelina Jauregui, a parent of three West Athens students, said, speaking through an interpreter, that using the parent-trigger law was always Plan B. Jauregui, who joined the parent union’s effort because her daughter was being bullied at school, said she’s confident that together the parents and staff will succeed.

“We’re doing this for all children of the school, all the children of Los Angeles, and all the children of the state,” Jauregui said Friday.

The agreement calls for a $300,000 investment to hire more staff, including a school psychologist, a part-time psychiatric social worker, attendance officers, and playground aides. In addition to more professional development for teachers, the plan includes strategies to improve efforts to implement the Common Core State Standards.

Of the roughly 800 students enrolled in West Athens, 44 percent are English-language learners and close to 100 percent are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch. About 30 percent of the school’s students are reading at grade level.

Negotiations between the parent union and the school’s principal and district officials began last fall. Rosalinda Lugo, a Los Angeles Unified instructional director, said parents received training and worked with the school’s teachers and principal to discuss their concerns and goals. Parents observed classrooms to learn how instruction was being delivered. Throughout the eight-month process, Lugo said a mutual understanding of the school’s needs was developed.

“The principal and I, we didn’t want the school to go through upheaval and turmoil that had occurred at other schools,” Lugo said. “It’s been something positive for the school because it really opened the communication between parents, who had some legitimate concerns, and the staff.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
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
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

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

Law & Courts Federal Judge Denies Parents' Suit to Block Florida's Ban on School Mask Mandates
The parents argued that their children, due to health conditions, were at particular risk if any of their peers attend school without masks.
David Goodhue, Miami Herald
3 min read
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban.
Marta Lavandier/AP
Law & Courts Texas Attorney General Sues More School Districts That Require Masks
The Texas attorney general's office anticipates filing more lawsuits against districts flouting the governor’s order. Will Dallas be next?
Talia Richman, The Dallas Morning News
4 min read
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 10, 2020.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 10, 2020.
Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Law & Courts Can They Do That? Questions Swirl Around COVID-19 School Vaccine Mandates
With at least one large school district adopting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, here is a look at the legal landscape for such a requirement.
5 min read
Image of a band-aid being placed on the arm.
iStock/Getty
Law & Courts High Court Justice Rejects Student's Bid to Block Removal Over Sexual Harassment Claim
Justice Elena Kagan denied a California student's effort to return to school after his 'emergency' suspension under Title IX regulations.
3 min read
The Supreme Court in Washington as seen on Oct. 7, 2020. After more than a decade in which the Supreme Court moved gradually toward more leniency for minors convicted of murder, the justices have moved the other way. The high court ruled 6-3 Thursday along ideological lines against a Mississippi inmate sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally stabbing his grandfather when the defendant was 15 years old. The case is important because it marks a break with the court’s previous rulings and is evidence of the impact of a newly more conservative court.
The U.S. Supreme Court as seen on Oct. 7, 2020.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP