Parent trigger laws are under attack in California. High Desert Elementary School, a member of Adelanto Elementary School District, is the first school in which parents have successfully executed the Parent Trigger Law. State testing scores show that 75% of students cannot read or write, causing The Desert Trails Parent Union to look for major changes for the better education of their children. Some parents later claimed they had found the petition confusing, but that does not change the fact that enough signed the petition to make major changes to the school.
However, the school board had other ideas. They sought to disqualify some of the signatures, but were forced by Judge Steve Malone to do so. Malone stated that the parents were able “to immediately begin the process of soliciting and selecting charter school proposals.” However, the school board chose to wait 30 days, then met in private to discuss the issue. More than 2 hours into the meeting, the board discussed the issue, deciding that it was too late to open a charter this year. The school board only allowed the parent group to advise on the future of the school rather than comply with the parents’ decision to turn it into a charter school. School board member Jermaine Wright (who lost a run at county supervisor) was willing to go to great lengths to undermine the rights of the parents, saying he was prepared to be held in contempt of court. “I brought my own handcuffs,” he said. “Take me away today. I don’t care anymore.”
Fortunately, the parents are no more willing to back down than the school board. They had had their petition accepted and were going to let their children stay in a failing school. A legal motion was filed arguing that the school board was in direct violation of Malone’s order. Parent Doreen Diaz said “They’ve rejected us at every single turn. They’ve just proved to me that they don’t care about parents’ voices.” The case will be heard on September 20, and we can only hope that the court upholds the law.