The return of Ramón Cortines as the head of the Los Angeles Unified School District implies changes. A very welcome one is supporting parents so that they can intervene in their children’s schools when those schools have chronic academic problems.
Parent Trigger is a state law passed in 2010 that allows a majority of parents to take over schools with consistently low performance. They can then switch school administrators or teachers, convert the school to a charter, choose other academic models or simply shut down the school.
From the beginning, teachers’ unions opposed the law that former Senator Gloria Romero introduced. Its implementation has been slow and at times turbulent, like it happened at McKinley Elementary in the Compton School District.
There are issues involving the law’s implementation that should change, but that does not take away its value. Likewise, Parent Revolution, a group that helps parents organize, should not be set aside because it has connections with charter schools and is partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Charter schools are one of several options that parents have.
Let’s not forget that neither Gates nor charter schools are responsible for students not learning at a particular school. They are also not responsible for the presence of teachers, principals and administrators who are not very concerned about this situation.
Therefore, it is up to parents to take action when they see that their children are not learning but are still promoted to the next grade. Parents want the best for their children. In some cases, like at West Athens Elementary, all that was needed to achieve major changes was a warning from parents about triggering the law.
Former Superintendent John Deasy had put the state law on hold, arguing a federal exemption. This changed when Cortines took over.
It would be ideal for teachers, administrators and parents to work together so students can learn. When that is not possible and students aren’t learning, parents can do something about it