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First School Being Taken Over by Parents under the “Parent Trigger” Law
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On Friday, the Desert Trails Elementary School of the Adelanto School District, California went down in history of being the first school in the nation to be taken over by parents due to poor performance of school authorities. Superior Court Judge Steve Malone ruled that the parents of the school had met all the requirements under the trigger law by gathering signatures from the legal guardians of at least half the students at Desert Trails. The judge ordered the Adelanto School District to validate the petitions and clear the way for parents to take over the school.

Doreen Diaz, a mother who led the petition drive, said, “This is a huge milestone in our struggle for our children to receive the basic education they are entitled to and deserve.” The Desert Trails School, which has a student population drawn mainly from low-income and minority families, had been posting horrible test scores for years. Barely, one in four students graduating from the school can pass basic proficiency tests in reading, writing, and math.

Ben Austin, who helped to organize the campaign through a nonprofit group called Parent Revolution, said parents would immediately start soliciting proposals from private management companies interested in running Desert Trails as a charter school. The school would continue to be publicly funded, but as a charter, it would be free to write its own curriculum and disciplinary rules and hire and fire staff without the constraints of union contracts.

  
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The school district had fought hard to retain control of the school, but lost in court. However, Carlos Mendoza, president of the district’s Board of Trustees, said he plans to urge his colleagues to appeal the court ruling and try to perpetuate the system that is already in place. He also mentioned that at least 100 parents from the original petition have signed a second petition asking to rescind their names from the takeover bid, but the judge did not allow it.



 

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