Parents of students attending Desert Trails Elementary School scored a major victory this week with their use of California’s parent trigger law. The Adelanto School Board voted unanimously to convert the long-failing school into a charter school. It marks the first time the law in California has been invoked.
The country’s first parent trigger law was signed by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and since then six other states have enacted similar laws. The legislation is designed to give parents an avenue to exert direct reform over a failing school. There are multiple steps involved, and no one should be misled into thinking that it is an easy solution to a complex problem.
Basically, a large majority of the school’s parents have to agree to enact the trigger law, and their recommendations for improving the school have to go through various levels of approval.
There has been an effort to get a parent trigger law passed in New York, which began last year by education advocates in Buffalo. A summary of the failed bill is below, as is a fact sheet on the trigger law.