School Choice Weekly #100
Parents in the poorly performing Palm Lane Elementary School earlier this year filed a parent trigger petition to turn the school into a charter. The district rejected their petition in February, but on July 16th, Judge Andrew Banks of the Anaheim Superior Court ruled in favor of the parents. Banks declared the district denial was, “procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”
Judge Banks ordered the following:
Within 20 calendar days of the date the Writ is signed, rescind the February 19, 2015, action of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education that rejected the Parent Trigger Petition;
Within the same 20 calendar day period, accept the Parent Trigger Petition submitted on January 14, 2015; and
Allow Petitioners to “immediately” begin the process of soliciting and selecting charter school proposals.
According to a parents group, Palm Lane Elementary failed to meet state standards in 10 of the past 11 years. In a statement from the parents’ attorney, Mark Hoslcher opined, “This ruling impacts all schools that have been designated a failing school by California Board of Education and continues to pave the way for parents across California to secure their fundamental right to a quality education for their children.”
In what some call a first, the majority of teachers at Fishburne Elementary School in Maywood, CA are joining the parents in an effort to remove the school’s principal, Beatriz Bogan. The reasons for the staff publicly aligning with the parents were listed in the letter signed and sent by the staff. According to the letter, provided by staff at Education Week, Bogan:
- alienated parents and community members through hostile behavior
- engaged in illegal practices
- lacks adequate communication skills
- slandered parents
- banned parents from entering the school’s campus
- was vindictive and retaliatory
Education Week reports the process is underway with petitions being signed and having had a meeting with the Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines.
Parents are focused on test score decline as their primary reason for trying to enact the parent trigger. In their press release, a group of parents stated, “Between 2012 and 2013, the school’s API score dropped from 823 to 782, a decline of 41 points, and an overwhelming majority of students in the third grade, 64% of them, are below proficient in reading and writing.”
Additional allegations about Bogan’s conduct were outlined in the press release:
- bully tactics
- constant harassment
- making false allegations of child abuse to school police
- [making false allegations of child abuse to] police
- [making false allegations of child abuse to] child protective services
A secondary concern is how Bogan and the administration did not fully use monies allocated to the school.