Latinos Use 'Parent Trigger' Law to Fix Failing California School

For the first time in the United States, a group of California parents have successfully used the state's 'Parent Trigger' Law to seize control of their kid's failing public school.

Last week, Superior Court Judge Steve Malone ruled that the parents gathered signatures from the legal guardians of at least half the students at Desert Trails Elementary School and have met all of the requirements under the trigger law.

Now, the public school will be a charter school. Though the school will continue to be publicly funded and open to all, the school would be free to write its own curriculum and disciplinary rules and hire and fire staff without the constraints of union contracts.

"There was a lot of kids that were not getting the basic needs in school," Cynthia Ramírez told Fox & Friends Friday. "We have sixth graders that still can't read or write."

Desert Trails is in the middle of impoverished Adelanto, California, a city of about 30,000 people with a 58% Latino population, has been struggling for years parents claim.

According to California State Records, 72 percent of the school's 6th graders are not at grade level in reading, while 70 percent of the schools 6th graders are not proficient in math.

Frustrated, Ramírez and others led parents to garner signatures for a petition campaign to present to the Adelanto school board.

The parents, backed by the nonprofit group "Parent Revolution," will immediately begin reviewing and requesting proposals from private management companies interested in running Desert Trails.

Carlos Mendoza, president of the district's Board of Trustees, told Reuters he plans to appeal the ruling. He said more than 100 parents who signed the petition later wanted their names removed because they were unclear about its intent. A judge later ruled they could not withdraw their names.

California was the first state to pass a parent trigger law, which allows parents to make changes to the school -- fire teachers or oust administrators -- if its performance is not up to par.

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