In Parent-Trigger School Fight, Kirkland Lawyers Get an A+

By Jenna Green

The kids are already back in school at Desert Trails Preparatory Academy in Adelanto, California, a dusty town of 32,000 in the Mojave Desert. School officials keep the break short so the kids don’t fall behind.

That the independent charter school’s 500 pupils have a campus to return to is due in large part to pro bono efforts by a team of litigators from Kirkland & Ellis, who won an essential ruling from an arbitrator last week.

It’s the latest victory for Kirkland in a long and controversial fight involving the so-called parent-trigger movement, which gives parents the power to force change at failing public schools.

It’s gone from ranking tenth out of the 10 elementary schools in the district to number three in English and number five in math.

Great, right? But that’s not the happy ending.

In December, the local school board voted not to renew the school’s charter.

“Sadly, rather than applauding [Desert Trails] and supporting its continued success, the district is attempting, yet again, to destroy [Desert Trails] and ‘take back’ the school–this time, by manufacturing a series of illegitimate ‘findings’ as a pretext to deny [Desert Trail’s] petition to renew its charter,” Holscher, Weinstein and Danna wrote in March a petition demanding arbitration.

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