Anyone who has ever been dissatisfied with their children’s education has wished they could actually do something to shift their kids’ school in a more positive direction. Thanks to a California law that permits parents to petition for their schools to go charter, a group of parents in Los Angeles are doing just that.
Parents at 20th Street Elementary have petitioned to turn it into a charter school, taking advantage of state law that allows them to exert control over improvement efforts at low-performing campuses.
The petition drive, announced Wednesday, was carried out with the help of locally based Parent Revolution, which has taken a lead role in organizing dissatisfied parents.
Parents at the school, south of downtown Los Angeles, had been prepared to submit a petition nearly a year ago, but backed down when the district pledged to address their concerns. Organizers now say the district failed to keep its commitments.
“We agreed to work in good faith with the district and support their plan, and we discarded the petitions we had already collected representing a majority of families at the school,” states a letter signed by parent leaders Guadalupe Aragon and Omar Calvillo and sent this week to L.A. schools Supt. Michelle King.
“Unfortunately, the plan that the district promised to implement at the beginning of this 2015-2016 school year has not been faithfully implemented.”
Charter schools take control out of the hands of politicians and bureaucrats and place them in the hands of administrators who are directly responsible for performance. That often leads to parents feeling as if they have more control — a feeling that is more fact than emotion many times.
While many would advise parents to homeschool, that’s not an option everyone is comfortable implementing. Charter schools offer parents an alternative to private education and public schools without having to homeschool, something many parents feel unable to do or circumstances make it impossible.
L.A. Unified, which oversees the schools in Los Angeles, is reviewing the relevant documentation at the moment, and we won’t be surprised if they find some quirk that lets them kick it back out. However, the idea at work here is a good one, and it’s one that probably needs to be universal.
Educating our children shouldn’t be about politics.