Parents in the Inland Empire city of Adelanto have decided to use the California Parent Trigger Law to get what they said were badly needed reforms at a low-performing elementary school.
They said they were inspired by parents in the city of Compton who became the first people to invoke the law.
They said they wanted the same kind of revolution at Desert Trails Elementary in Adelanto.
“They’re not putting effort for the kids. If they were, academically, the school would be bigger,” said parent Joe Morales.
Morales said he, like many other parents, moved to the high desert town in San Bernardino County in search of affordable housing and quality public schools.
But Desert Trails Elementary is the lowest performing school in the district. Only a third of students read at grade level and only 22% are at grade level in science.
So Desert Trails parents reached out to education advocates, Parent Revolution, to help them organize a revolution of their own.
They wanted to use the trigger law to force the district to institute reforms.
“I feel if they can build prisons and jails and houses and stores, why can’t you make the schools better?” said Cecilia Thornton, who moved her three grandchildren to the high desert from Compton.
Cynthia Ramirez moved from Paramount.
“I want her to be about to have doors open so after high school I want her to go to the best universities,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said she became an organizer for reform when she realized she couldn’t afford to move again.
“We purchased our home for 124 and now it’s down to 70-something thousand,” she said.
Adelanto once led the state in new home construction but prices have plummeted and a brand-new three-bedroom home now rents here for less than $800 a month.
Fed up with low test scores and what they claimed was an unresponsive district, the parents Thursday handed in petitions signed by 71% of them.
School principal David Mobley said he thought he has the same goals as the parents, but just the methods of going about it are different.
The district said it would be willing to work with the parents. It is planning to meet with them on Friday.