The failure to enact a parent trigger in Adelanto,
California, shows how difficult it is to campaign for the sweeping reform the
law allows, as it should be. If the parents at Desert Trails Elementary want to
either replace the instructional and administrative staff or convert the school
into a charter, it had better have the support of an overwhelming majority of
parents. The campaign had boasted that 70 percent of Desert Trails parents
supported pulling the trigger, but
the Los Angeles Times reported that
nearly 100 later backed out of the petition, which the school board on
Tuesday threw out.
It should be difficult to campaign for the sweeping reform parent trigger
The effort may not have divided the school, as
a Times headline asserted earlier
this week, but it certainly led a community of parents to splinter into
factions, including those who wanted to see change at a troubled school but not
a wholesale charter conversion. As more states like Florida
consider their own trigger laws, they should set the bar high to make sure that
transformational change is capable with only a supermajority of parents.
California’s law demands that a simple majority of parents at a low-performing traditional school
can petition for a charter conversion, and most states with trigger proposals
follow that formula. Ben Austin, the executive director of...