First Public School Seized By Parents Set To Open

Source: Stephanie Simon / Politico

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.

Parent Revolution, a nonprofit dedicated to organizing trigger campaigns, anticipates a surge of interest in other state legislatures as Desert Trails and three other California schools transformed by parent activism reopen over the next month. Parent empowerment has strong bipartisan support in many states — a sign of the diminished clout of teachers unions, which oppose trigger laws but have not been able to stop their traditional allies in the Democratic Party from endorsing the concept.

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