During this past week, with the news so focused on the Congressional
tax debate and the “wikileaks” controversy, you may have missed reports
of a very impressive school choice victory.

The parents of students at McKinley Elementary School in Compton,
California have risen up and taken control of their children’s

The parents are making use of a new California law, called the Parent
Trigger, which gives them the power to impose sweeping changes on
failing schools.

For the Parent Trigger law to be invoked, a school must fail to meet
federal academic standards for three consecutive years; have a score of
less than 800 on the state’s Academic Performance Index, which is based
on student test scores; and be among the lowest performing five percent
of schools in the state.

There are many California schools that would qualify for parental
action under the Parent Trigger law, according to the Los Angeles Daily

In the Los Angeles United School District alone, 250 schools have
failed to meet academic standards for more than three years, the
newspaper said.

Under this law, if the majority of a school’s parents agree, they can
choose to close down the school, replace the entire staff, or convert
it to a charter school. All that is required is a petition signed by 50
percent of the parents.

On December 7, accompanied by a horde of news cameras, a McKinley
Elementary parent representative made history when she delivered a
petition (signed by 62 percent of parents) to the district’s
superintendent demanding that that school become a charter school.

“This is the beginning of a new future of our kids,” parent leader Ismenia Guzman was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying.

As a result, a charter school operator will be given control of the
school.  Like any charter school, the operators will have to meet
agreed-upon goals in order to have their contract renewed.

What makes this story so encouraging is the fact that parents were
given power over their child’s education.  No longer will parents be
forced to watch helplessly from the sidelines as their child becomes
trapped in a failing school, at least in California.

“Giving power to the parents — this is what this is all about,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger, according to the Times.

But last Tuesday signaled more than an isolated victory for
California parents.  Other states are paying careful attention to the
Golden State’s new Parent Trigger law.  Support for similar legislation
is already gaining traction in New Jersey and Connecticut. It’s likely that more states will take up the cause as it gains national attention.

Giving parents the power to choose the best option for their child’s
education – that must be the future of education in the United States. 
Together we can create a new future for all children, one that prepares
them for a successful future and a better quality of life.  America’s
children deserve nothing less.


Source: Big Government – http://goo.gl/X7NUA

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