Last evening at the Republican Convention, Condoleezza Rice gave a very inspiring speech. Among other things she said as follows:
And we need to give parents greater choice, particularly, particularly poor parents whose kids, very often minorities, are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights issue of our day.
Sadly, here is what parents face when they try to do so.
Desert Trails Elementary School is in Adelanto, California, some 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The population is mainly low income Latino. The school has been classified as “failing” for six years.
Last year, two-thirds of students failed the state language arts exam, 56% failed math and 80% failed science.
Under California’s Parent-Trigger law, if 50% of the parents file a petition to do so, the school can be transformed into a charter school. Seventy percent of Desert Trails’ parents filed such a petition, but rather than taking the steps to follow the parents’ wishes, the School Board chose to fight the issue in court.
Last month, California Superior Court Judge Elia Pirozzi,
…ruled…that [the] parents…had successfully pulled the nation’s first parent trigger to force change at their children’s failing public school…[and] ‘commanded’ the Adelanto school board to let parents ‘immediately begin the process of soliciting and selecting’ proposals to transform Desert Trails Elementary into a charter school.
The School Board, however, has decided to ignore said court order telling the parents it is too late to do anything for this school year. And, as for next year, the Board maintains that, by then, “too much time has passed for the ‘trigger’ to still be relevant”. One member of the Board, Jermaine Wright went so far as to proclaim,
If I’m found in contempt of court, I brought my own handcuffs, take me away.”
People like Jermaine Wright are the reason we have failing schools…they care more about the unions than the children.