California Educator

March 2012

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Page 37 of 43

TAKING A STAND Parent trigger misfires again ATTEMPTS TO INVOKE California's con- troversial "parent trigger" law for the sec- ond time have again resulted in chaos, this time in the small High Desert community of Adelanto. The law, which allows parents at an underperforming school to impose one of five reform options if they can get a majority to sign a petition, has again divided a school amid allegations of petition organizer mis- representation and harassment. At the center of the con- Parents felt misled by Parent Revolution's tactics. troversy at Desert Trails Elementary School is Par- ent Revolution, the well- funded Los Angeles-based education reform group that was deeply involved in last year's failed trigger attempt at McKinley Elementary School in Compton. Parent Revolution was invited by an ousted former Desert Trails principal to Adelanto, where it helped a small group of parents with concerns about the struggling school form a "parent union" to leverage a list of demands for things Credentials and Certificates Bachelors Masters Doctoral * U.S. News & World Report and Forbes Magazine | College of Education and Organizational Leadership 38 California Educator / March 2012 like local parent control over hiring and fir- ing staff. While parents were circulating that petition of demands, the same parents and Parent Revolution also circulated a parent trigger petition that would turn the school into an independent charter run by an as- yet-unnamed entity. On Jan. 12, those parents submitted charter takeover petitions that they said rep- resented 70 percent of the school. Almost immediately, parents who disagreed with the petition or who had not been asked to sign began to organize and, working with the Adelanto District Teachers Association, began to have conversations and meetings with parents who had signed. Although state regulations passed last summer were an attempt to avoid another debacle like Parent Revolution's Compton attempt, some of the same problems soon surfaced: Some parents had been misled, others had been harassed, many didn't realize they were asking to replace the staff or convert to *

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