In an emotional celebration, Mojave Desert parents Monday hailed a court ruling that found the school board illegally rejected their efforts under the state's "parent trigger" law to transform their failing elementary school into a charter campus.
More than half the parents at Desert Trails Elementary School in Adelanto had petitioned for the change at their campus, where nearly three-fourths of sixth graders fail to read and do math at grade level. But the board invalidated more than 100 signatures and rejected the petition.
At issue was the fact that many parents attempted to rescind their signatures after the fact -- the result of pressure and bullying from union forces, which is, alas, a hallmark of these kinds of struggles. In fact, the situation in Adelanto was actually tame compared to Compton, where -- as I noted last fall -- some petitioners were even being threatened with deportation. Happily, the state Board of Education adopted regulations last year prohibiting this kind of intimidation and preventing recisions as a safety mechanism. As a result, the trigger effort stood.
Carlos Mendoza, Adelanto school board president, said he would recommend that the board appeal the decision. He said he does not oppose charter schools per se but was concerned that petition supporters confused and misled parents.There are two words that, when spoken by leaders of the educational status quo, consistently indicate that what you have just heard is a lie: "per se." Every time a serious reform effort is launched, the protest is predictable: we're not against reform "per se", we're just against any reforms you'll actually propose. Good for the parents of Adelanto that they refused to be pacified by such pablum.