Eyes on California as First Parent-Triggered Charter School Prepares to Open

Parents in Adelanto, Calif., fought teachers, the school district and even resistant parents to use the state’s “parent trigger” law to force the district to allow a charter program take over the operations of failing Desert Trails Elementary School.

Now called Desert Trails Preparatory Academy, it opens its doors on Monday as the first of its kind, and many education reformers (and opponents) are watching. Politico notes:

A grand experiment in letting parents seize control of their neighborhood schools is unfolding in an impoverished Mojave Desert town — and lawmakers as far away as Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan are watching, and pondering the implications for troubled schools in their own states.

Desert Trails Preparatory Academy in Adelanto, Calif., will open for the academic year on Monday as the first school in the nation to have been remade under a law that gives parents the power to take over a low-performing public school and fire the principal, dismiss teachers or bring in private management.

The law, known as “parent trigger,” passed in California in 2010 and has since been adopted by six other states — Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas — though parents have not yet taken over schools in any of them.

Teachers unions are resistant but Politico notes more and more Democratic politicians are coming out in favor of the parent-controlled option. The success or failure of Desert Trails is going to be used as ammunition by one side or the other.

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  • Warrren||

    You know what is simpler?

    1. Doing away with teacher certifications. Therefore there is no restriction on who parents can hire to be teachers.

    2. If you don't have any kids in school you don't have to pay taxes that support schools.

    3. You can write off tuition and other costs from your taxes if you school outside of the government system.

    BOOM. Everybody gets the type of school they want.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Making an imaginary problem 'worse' is not a reason to do anything.

  • Acosmist||


    As the article points out, there was a surge of enrollment of non-native speakers. That'd be where the poor performance comes from. Changing the guard does nothing to change the demographics that led to this situation.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Please don't link to junk science docs.

    Charter schools in inner city NAM neighbourhoods are doing fine you stupid racist fuck.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That'd be where the poor performance comes from.

    Or maybe the poor performance is from a system so shitty it can't even deal with a surge of furriners. Pretty sure Texan charter schools with 'the demographics' are doing just fine.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Okay, here it is rephrased: They're doing just fine like the other charter schools.

    Got any evidence to the contrary?

  • CE||

    Can't they take the phrase "parent triggered" out of it though? It might frighten some of the parents, because of guns.

  • Sevo||

    "Teachers unions are resistant but Politico notes more and more Democratic politicians are coming out in favor of the parent-controlled option."

    Not in CA, they're not. Moonbeam isn't about to kick his boss in the slats.

  • Jordan||

    Man, you really showed that strawman who's boss.

  • Jordan||

    Because many charter advocates do argue against those things.

  • Acosmist||

    Really? How many say "retards don't deserve school"? How many say "I don't care how many minorities you have to kick out, just make my kid's school white"?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What? What level of post-modernity are you going for here?

  • Jordan||

    They are not willing, for example, to risk the wrath of parents with “disabled” kids by going after the mandates themselves. They are not willing to take on disparate impact by arguing that disruptive and unmotivated kids are a huge suck on the time and income of public schools.

    Umm, I don't think it's controversial that there are libertarians who argue against compulsory schooling or that troublemakers should be expelled. American is a retarded racist, but nothing in this paragraph was.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They just argue that charters are better, just because they are.

    And they are. It's called a 'power structure', dipshit.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    How many say "I don't care how many minorities you have to kick out, just make my kid's school white"?

    Murkin? Is that you?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Very few high school charters are any good, except the ones dedicated to academic excellence"

    (a) Any good compared to what? The schools the students would otherwise be going to?

    (b) That exception swallows up the rule. I mean, academic excellence is a big motivator of these schools.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Last I heard, charters tend to be just as good, in some cases better, than the schools the parents are fleeing. When we see more applicants for charter slots than there are available spaces, I find it hard to attribute it to massive Koch-funded deception of gullible poor people.

    Consulting Educationrealist's archive doesn't sound fruitful, since he says charter advocates are hypocrites who "pretend" etc. If he can make errors in this respect, how can he hope he'll suddenly get his data accurate in other respects?

  • Meerkatx||

    Exactly. It's the same reason local private schools seem to be superior. They can deny applications of those who struggle educationally and economically.

    Private schools and charter schools are like most of the rest of the worlds education systems where once you head to the high school level where they out perform the US they have already diverted all the students who don't meet a certain standard into a different education paths that don't show up in the various rankings.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Uh, some of these charters deliberately aim at recruiting poor, struggling students. They're not rich-only enclaves like Sidwell Friends.

    Poor parents often line up, desperate to get their kids into certain charters.

    Other charters, which don't fulfill their promises, actually risk getting shut down, as opposed to getting more money as conventional public schools tend to do when they're failing.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The head of Desert Trails already operates a charter whose Academic Performance Index is among the highest in San Bernardino County:


    A plurality of the students are Latino, and according to your theories they must be really rich Latinos who take chauffeured limousines from their haciendas to the school door. Or maybe the field hands carry them to school on rickshaws.


  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And the results with socioeconomically disadvantaged students are good, see below.

  • ||

    Shorter statist:


  • Meerkatx||

    Sadly most parents know nothing about education and how to educate children. I'm going to assume this charter school will refuse any and all special needs children and will attempt to only cater to the top kids both educationally and economically.

    Some charter schools do a fantastic job. I don't think this will be one of them.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The new charter head already runs a charter (see above) where all student subgroups, including socioeconomically disadvantaged, easily meet performance goals and are among the highest in the county:


    Maybe these socioeconomically disadvantaged kids are among the top kids economically? Or maybe you're just making assumptions. Wait, you *said* you were making assumptions.

  • Les||

    Charters are good in that they provide choice where there is little to none. But judging charters on test scores just digs deeper into the main problem with public schools: the paradigm.


  • LifeStrategies||

    Whenever anybody has a monopoly, experience shows that customer satisfaction goes down because of the lack of incentive to do a great job. An option, such as firing those who don't perform, will therefore lead to better performance.

    This suggests eliminating the monopoly of teacher unions cannot help but improve things... Could this be why "Teachers unions are resistant"? It also explains why "more and more Democratic politicians are coming out in favor of the parent-controlled option."


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