Wall Street Journal Cites California Charter Schools as Parental School-Trigger Law Success Stories

October 19, 2014

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In a recent article entitled "Miracle on 24th Street," the Wall Street Journal praised California's parental school-trigger law. The trigger law is the foundation for the establishment of many California charter schools.

The Parent Empowerment Act -- or "parent trigger" law -- was established in 2010 and allows parents and legal guardians who are dissatisfied with their children's struggling schools to voice their discontent and overhaul the structure and operations of their schools. The law creates a process which allows parents of students in low-performing schools to sign a petition to implement one of the intervention models - replacing all or some of the staff, turning the school over to a charter operator, transforming it through some programs, or closing the school altogether.

Parents have "triggered" changes at three schools since the law took effect. Those schools are 24th Street Elementary and Weigand Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles, and Desert Trails Elementary in Adelanto. Desert Trails and 24th Street converted to charters, while parents at Weigand hired a new principal.

Weigand teachers quit to protest the trigger law, requiring the school to rebuild with mostly inexperienced faculty. After becoming charter schools, test scores soared at the 24th Street school and Desert Trails. While scores at Weigand remained stagnant.

This illustrates that when parents take action using the the parent trigger law, especially with respect to transforming to a charter model, the schools preform better and students thrive.