These Parents Are Involved, but They’re Getting Nowhere

Published March 11, 2011

Nobody expected California’s education establishment to roll over and play dead in the face of one of the most significant reforms to come along in decades. The question is whether the rejection of the Compton parents’ petition to reform a failing elementary school under the state’s “parent trigger law” represents a major defeat or a mere setback (“Crushing Hopes in Compton,” Review & Outlook, March 2).

Yes, the Compton Unified School District board of trustees denied the parents’ petition on the lamest of pretexts. Yes, the new state board of education has delayed permanent regulations and may or may not extend emergency regulations which the previous board approved last summer. And yes, the state legislature is weighing cleanup legislation that could easily dilute the law and “lock” the parent trigger. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news: The Compton parents will have their day in court on March 22. The parent trigger law remains in force, with or without regulations. And even if opponents of parent empowerment succeed in their cleanup effort—hardly a foregone conclusion—any new law would take effect no sooner than Jan. 1, 2012. That means parents still have ample opportunity to vindicate their rights and the rights of their children.

Ben Boychuk

The Heartland Institute