‘Trigger’ parents choose charter

Mojave Desert parents chose a nonprofit charter operator partnered with a university to take over their children’s failing elementary school, in the first use of California’s parent trigger law, reports the Fresno Bee.

Desert Trails Elementary School parents voted for LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy, which is partnered with the University of La Verne.

Only parents who signed the petition in favor of the charter voted. Vote tallies were not immediately released, but 53 out of 180 eligible voters cast ballots.

Parent organizer Kathy Duncan complained that the local teachers union sponsored a free, off-campus skate party for kids, who had to be accompanied by their parents, on the same afternoon as the vote.

“Parents selected LaVerne due to their incredibly strong track record” with black and Hispanic students and “their commitment to ongoing parent power,” said Doreen Diaz, a Desert Trails’ parent and lead coordinator for the Desert Trails Parent Union (DTPU).

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  1. Crimson Wife says:

    The fact that parents would rather take their kids to a free roller skating party than vote on which organization should run their kids’ school just illustrates the biggest obstacle to improving schools there: education simply isn’t a high enough priority to these families.

  2. ms_teacher says:

    If it mattered to ALL 180 eligible parents, they would have shown up. Using the excuse that the teachers’ union had a skate party as an excuse for the low turn-out is a joke.

    • One of my platoon sergeants once told us that the Command could treat us like dirt, but if they threw us a pizza party once a quarter, we’d put up with all their sh*t and gladly follow them into hell. The truth is, it takes very little to distract and placate adults (and children), even in the most serious and unfair situations. You are right, but at the same time you’re naive if you don’t think the teachers’ union didn’t purposefully play that hand.

      • Actually. it takes a lot to distract and placate adults when they have some freedom of action. But when we don’t, like for instance in the military or if you’re a parent, any little bone thrown to you by people who don’t have to do a thing to accommodate you is seen as a gesture of titanic magnanimity.

  3. Here’s a question: What if you’re a parent who does not want their child to attend a privatized charter school, and would prefer their child to continue attending a “public” school—a school that, through a democratically-elected school board, is transparent and accountable to the public, and educates ALL the public (i.e. does not kick out hard-to-educate kids… special ed, English Language Learners, behavior problem kids)?

    Only 50 people voted in favor of this… 53 total… out of 670. Since the right-wing, education “reform” crowd is so big on giving parents choice, shouldn’t these parents have the “right to choose” NOT to attend this new charter?

    For example, if parents don’t want their kids to attend, will the school district provide daily bus transportation to the geographically closest public school(s)?

    If these public school(s) that are geographically closest do not have enough space to accommodate these parents, will the district pay to bring in mobile home bungalows and hire teachers to take on the new load of students? (and later build permanent structures if the demand persists)?

    Yes, the parents who voted “Yes” should be able to attend Hesperia, but the parents (voting or not voting) opposed to this should also be able to opt out of this and attend a public school of their choice.

    If not, then these parents denied such an accomodation should file a class action lawsuit forthwith.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      If it were up to me, parents who wanted to send their kids to a traditional public school would have the opportunity to do so. However, I would extend the same courtesy to parents in ALL districts who want to send their kids to something different. I would allow them to send their kids to charters in the area, or to open a charter or charters in the district. And, of course, the money would follow the student.