School Choice Comes Straight Outta Compton Due to Parents Wit Attitude!


Earlier this month, parents of kids trapped in a Compton, California elementary school pulled the "trigger" on a potentially explosive school reform:

Under a California law passed in January, parents can trigger a change in governance at some 1,300 schools that have failed to make "adequate yearly progress" for four consecutive years. If at least 51% of the parents sign a petition, they can shut the school down, shake up its administration, or invite a charter operator to take over. Charters that open as a result of parent triggers must accept all students from the original school.

Compton's McKinley Elementary School has made adequate progress only once since 2003, and it is in the bottom 10% of schools statewide and when compared to schools with students of similar backgrounds. McKinley is part of the Compton Unified School District, which has a high school graduation rate of 46.8%; only 3.3% of those graduates were eligible for California's public universities in 2008. That year the state required Compton to hire a "district assistance intervention team." According to its own investigators, the district demonstrated over two years a "lack of a sense of urgency related to student achievement."

Not surprisingly, there's pushback from the powers that be (powers that were?), which is claiming that the charter group poised to take over the school isn't up to the task, blah blah blah. The parental trigger is getting props from many Dems around the Golden State and beyond.

Parent trigger has support from Democrats including Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Washington, D.C., schools chief Michelle Rhee and even Rahm Emanuel now that he's running for mayor of Chicago. Legislators in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland tell us they will introduce versions of parent trigger in the coming months.

The biggest obstacle to education reform has long been overcoming the inertial forces of unionized bureaucracy. Parent trigger is a revolutionary shortcut, and bravo to the parents in Compton for making the leap.

Whole thing here.

What's good about this law is that it doesn't require a massive overhaul of the system to institute change at the local level. Just 13 percent of parents are "very" or "somewhat" dissatisfied with the quality of their kids' traditional public schools, which means there ain't gonna be no massive revolt any time soon. Change only gets tougher when you factor in relatively wealthy and politically connected people with no kids in the system whose property values are in part based on the educational status quo.

Hat Tip: Alan Vanneman.

Take it away, NWA. And who knows? In future versions of the song, maybe G.T.A. will be replaced with G.P.A.:

Reason on edumication.


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  1. They’re just expressin’ with their full capability.

    1. To keep their kids from livin’ in correctional facilities.

  2. “which is claiming that the charter group poised to take over the school isn’t up to the task, blah blah blah”

    Better to stay with the prudent, conservative, predictable failure you know than new, inovative, game-changing failure.

  3. As I have explained to the teachers unions, it’s in their best interest to give up control around the edges to maintain the status quo. Sure, we will lose a few schools. And undoubtedly the few schools we lose will be proven to operate drastically better under charter or private control, and at a lower cost… However, we will then commandeer that success and use it as an example of how the education bureaucracy is now fixed by being more flexible! And deserving of even more of the publics tax dollars… because fixing things is never cheap, especially when it’s for the children!

  4. Just ask mrs. Rhee about the privatizaion of Dunbar high school in dc. The former principal has been reinstated after “The friends of Bedford” who Rhee hired, have now been fired after gang rapes in the hallway, low test results, and general anarchy prevailed. A small charter school failure for Rhee! Rhee has just formed a PAC’ “students first”, where she can receive and donate money to politicians, and make big bucks on speaking engagements! Just google the Washington Examiner and Rhee!

    1. Please. Stop. With the Fucking. Exclamation points.

    2. Looks like the principal has been unfired in the latest news:…..03572.html

      Your sentence structure’s a little garbled, so it’s hard to tell if you are saying he’s been fired again. Is that what you’re saying?

  5. Michelle Rhee has fired over 1000 teachers and administrators over questionable “test scores”, and replaced them with Teach for America candidates. This program, supported by Federal Grants, can enter the classroom after five weeks of training, at entry level salary… This greatly increased her operating budget, making her look good, but at whose expense? I wonder how she would rate her own performance during her three year teaching stint, she publically admits to taping students mouths shut, and some bleeding upon removing the tape! Will this be part of her new school reform? What does she need the billion dollars for? Sounds like the self proclaimed “Michelle Rhee first campaign”! For more on her corruption charges just google “Michelle Rhee corruption”?

    1. “This greatly increased her operating budget, making her look good, but at whose expense?”

      Greedy rent-seeking unions? Useless, overpaid bureaucrats?

    2. Doesn’t your union steal enough money for you from the taxpayers to get a better ISP than AOL?

  6. Damn that Michelle Rhee! DC schools had no problems at all before she came along!

  7. Randi Weingarten, is that you?

  8. Boyz in tha Hood is straight up Eazy E, not N.W.A.

    Damn Gillespie, your weave is pullin yer brains out.

    1. This version is in fact from NWA and the Posse; the later “prologue” version is on an Eazy-E solo disc. More here.

      1. Oh, and this ain’t no weave, what’s on top of bean. I could pull a locomotive with these roots.

        1. My bad, thought that was Eazy…solo.

          Speaking of Eazy, next time yer on Parker/Spitzer you should wear your hair up Eazy style.

          You should also give the collective Parker/Spitzer the collective back of your hand, jeeze.

  9. Take it away, NWA.

    Perhaps “Free Minds and Free Markets” could be changed to…

    “Knowin’ nuthin’ in life but tah be legit.
    Don’t quote me boy ‘cuz I ain’t said shit.”

  10. For a more in depth look at what is happening in Compton generally and about McKinley Elementary specifically, click on our name.

  11. There is no place like home.

  12. This might be a California law, but it’s modeled on Bush’s NCLB…my wife is a government teacher, and they’re always freaking out about AYP.

    1. The remedies come from federal regulations implementing the Race to the Top and federal school turnaround grants. California took that route because the parent trigger was part of the state’s special legislation to compete for a piece of that $4.35 billion. Well, California didn’t get the money, but we still have the law. Other states could dream up any remedy they like. Sen. Joe Kyrillos in New Jersey today just filed legislation that would make vouchers one possible outcome of a successful parent petition. Indiana is circulating a draft of legislation that would essentially do the same. West Virginia will have a bill, too. Some of those bills won’t pass. Some will. The point is, the trigger could be a very powerful weapon. It’s already got the unions and school boards freaking out here, and it’s only been used once so far.

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