Parents Rally in Support of ‘Parent Trigger’ at Calif. Elementary School

At the predominantly Latino 24th Street Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, frustrated parents are rallying to take over the failing campus and turn it around.

They are seeking to use California’s new and controversial “parent trigger” law passed in 2010. The law empowers parents to petition to make major campuses at campuses, which they can achieve by getting the signatures of at least 50 percent of parents of students enrolled. Changes include turnaround models such as staff changes or converting to charter schools.

Parent Amabilia Villeda began attending protests about the poor quality of education at the 24th Street school three years ago and is among those trying to gather enough parent signatures.

“We have the opportunity to make a change at this school because now we have the right support to do it,” she said in Spanish, reported The Hechinger Report. “They weren’t listening to us before, and with the law, now they’re listening.”

The school serves a population that is 80 percent Latino, with many of the students from low-income households. The campus has failed to meet state standards. Hechinger reports that more than 80 percent of third-graders and 71 percent of fifth-graders are not reading on grade level, and the campus has the second highest suspension rate among elementary schools in the L.A. school district.

After a long battle, parents at Desert Trails Elementary School in Adelanto, Calif., recently became the first to use the law, and plan to turn the campus into a charter school. By state standards, 24th Street is actually lower performing.

Members of the group Parent Revolution are organizing the 24th Street parents.

On the web site GreatSchools, the school is rated a one out of 10. Many of the parent online reviews are highly critical of the principal.

The school’s website lists a positive vision very different from the one that parents see: “24th Street Elementary is committed to creating a healthy, safe and positive environment that develops lifelong learners who will become socially responsible, global citizens.” According to the site, the school has a parent center that provides workshops and a parent representative.

We hear so much about the lack of Latino parent involvement. But in this case, parents are actively protesting and mobilizing around the issue of education reform. It should be interesting to see how well known the law is among Hispanic parents in California, and how many of those parents plan to pursue it.

Related Links:

– “One week after ‘parent trigger’s’ first success, new campaign announced at Los Angeles school.” The Hechinger Report.

– “Parent Trigger Law at LAUSD: 24th Street Elementary School the Target of New Parent Petition.” Reuters.

– 24th Street Elementary School, Los Angeles Unified School District. 

– Parent Revolution.

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