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'Parent-trigger' law used to protest LA school

December 7, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The majority of parents at McKinley Elementary School signed a petition, so under a new state law, the district is required to take action."I just want a better education for my daughter and for all Compton school kids," said parent Ismania Guzman.

Guzman is one of dozens of parents who rallied Tuesday morning in Compton to be the first in the states to use the new "parent trigger" law.

"'Parent-trigger' law allows us parents to change our schools and our neighborhood, to make it a better school for our kids," said Guzman.

The new state law, which passed this year, allows a majority of parents from an underperforming school to petition their school district to demand change.

Given that the state department of education has ranked McKinley Elementary School in Compton in the bottom 10 percent of schools in the state, parents from the school are demanding change.

"One of my daughters attends McKinley. Her name is Hillary. She's in the second grade," said parent Shemika Murphy. "I am here today because I care about my children and their education and their future."

Nearly 270 parents of students from McKinley signed a petition demanding their school be allowed to convert to a charter school.

"These are the petitions signed by us parents, who care," said Guzman.

State senator Gloria Romero authored the Parent-Trigger law

"They far exceeded the minimum, with over 60 percent signatures. This shows that parents -- oftentimes I would hear parents don't care -- I never believed that," said Romero. "Parents care about what happens to their children."

"This is one particular site, and if it's not working then we want to give the parents the tools necessary to make changes," said state public-schools superintendent Jack O'Connell.

After the rally parents boarded busses for a trip to the Compton Unified School District headquarters to hand deliver their petition to school administrators.

Parents say they'll patiently wait to see how the school district responds.


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