Heartland Institute Experts Reacts to Parent Trigger Victory in Adelanto, California

Published January 9, 2013

The Adelanto School Board Tuesday night voted unanimously to turn Desert Trails Elementary School into a charter school, marking the first time the “parent trigger” education reform was successfully invoked to force change in a failing school.

The Heartland Institute has been at the forefront of advancing this education reform idea since it first passed in California in 2010. For more information, and to review Heartland’s work on this reform, visit The Parent Trigger Web Site and search for “parent trigger” at PolicyBot.

The following statements from education and Parent Trigger experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“This victory ought to belong deepest and sweetest to the families and children who now have a chance at a better education because of California’s first-ever Parent Trigger law. My hearty congratulations to them and deepest wishes for their continued success.

“These events should remind the nation to notice and scorn those who persistently created obstacles to families seeking a better life in our land of opportunity. There should be no question about or barrier to children’s ability to escape schools that don’t meet their needs.”

Joy Pullmann
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, School Reform News
[email protected]

“Adelanto shows that the Parent Trigger law can work when parents have energy, patience, and fortitude. But the nearly two-year odyssey of the parents at Desert Trails Elementary also shows that the process isn’t quick or as easy as it should be.

“Despite clear language in California’s law and the state department of education’s implementing rules governing the Parent Trigger law, these parents met with fierce and arguably illegal resistance from school officials and the California Teachers Association. Parents shouldn’t have to go to court any time they want to vindicate their kids’ right to a decent education.”

Ben Boychuk
Policy Advisor, Education
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The school board vote to approve the conversion of Desert Trails Elementary School to a charter is an impressive victory for not only Adelanto parents, but for parents across the nation. It is time to rapidly expand the Parent Trigger to other states and cities so that parents are empowered to convert failing schools into successful ones. There is no intellectually or morally sound argument against the rapid expansion of the Parent Trigger.”

Bruno Behrend
Senior Fellow, Education Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The California decision for the Desert Trails Elementary School needs to be heralded as an empowering landmark for parental choice and authority over the education of their children. This decision will set an important legal precedent for parents all over the United States to exercise their rights to be free of the tyranny of failing schools. I hope that this reform is leveraged in other failing school districts over the U.S.”

Noreen Lephardt
Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics
Marquette University
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.