A superior court judge has ruled in favor of parents at a small southern California desert town who, with the help of a Los Angeles-based school reform organization, have been organizing to take over their struggling elementary school.

Superior Court Judge Steve Malone’s ruling, made public this week, will allow parents with the Desert Trails Parent Union in Adelanto, California to go ahead with their efforts to overhaul Desert Trails Elementary School. Parents had challenged the local school district after their petition was voided; the district had allowed parents to rescind their signatures. Judge Malone ruled that such a move was illegal, and in fact, the petition would stand, the Los Angeles Times reported.

They are the first group in the nation to be allowed to use the parent trigger to overhaul a neighborhood school. The ruling marks a victory for parent activists and Parent Revolution, the Los Angeles-based organization that has advocated for parent trigger policy and overhauls. A previous effort to take over a Compton public school, led with the help of Parent Revolution as well, also led to lawsuits and legal wrangling.

The parent trigger allows parents to demand sweeping overhauls of a struggling neighborhood school if organizers can gather a majority of parent signatures in support of changes. California’s law, passed in 2010, was the first in the nation to offer parents such power. Other states in the nation have since followed Calfornia’s lead, enacting their own versions of the law, yet to date, the parent trigger has yet to prove its success as a model for reforming failing schools.

The overhaul process will now begin; parents have one month to work with the Adelanto school district to enact their chosen reforms or choose a charter school operator to take over Desert Trails, CBS reported.

For more on the challenges and struggles the parent trigger effort brought to the Adelanto community, check out Colorlines.com’s report.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/07/judge_oks_nations_first_parent_trigger_takeover_in_adelanto_calif_school.html

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