Across America, Parent Trigger laws are being invoked to make changes in failing schools. In some cases, schools are transformed from traditional public schools and, in others, they are used to replace administration officials impeding the success of students. Just this month, parents in Watts, California made the decision to make changes to the administration at Weigand Elementary School.
A reported 61% of families with children at the school signed the petition calling for broad reforms, many more than the 50% plus one family minimum needed to execute he parent trigger law. The LAUSD approved the petition five votes to two, clearing a path for parents to make the changes they felt were necessary for the education of their children. The parents chose to remove the school’s principal, and a new one will be in place for the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. “We will have to bring in a new principal for the school,” Tommy Chang, instructional superintendent for LAUSD, said. “We have not made a decision as to where the new principal will (come from).”
Parents felt current principal Irma Cobian was standing in the way of their children getting an effective education. There were reports of rudeness and inaccessibility, delays in individualized learning plans for students with special needs, and that she was at the root of a “culture of intimidation” with teachers. According to Ben Austin of Parent Revolution, the group which supported the parents,
“The kids will be better off under new leadership, not someone who has presided over abject failure. All the students come from low-income families, more than half are not fluent in English and a quarter turn over every year.”
When parents find that their children are not getting the support to succeed academically, they need to step up and demand changes. Fortunately, in California, this is allowed through Parent Trigger legislation. When parents are aware and involved, they can truly make a difference.