Palm Lane Elementary

Parent ‘Trigger’ Win in California Shines Light on Dysfunctional Public School System

The law, officially known as the Parent Empowerment Act, “creates a process which allows parents of students in low-performing schools to sign a petition to implement one of the intervention models,” according to the California Department of Education. Those models include replacing staff, turning the school into a charter, adding new programs or closing it down.

In 2014, the Anaheim superintendent sent letters to parents noting that the school “failed to meet the English-language arts and mathematics proficiency targets.” Many parents already knew that Palm Lane was failing the kids, so they decided to pull the proverbial trigger. School officials in general tend to dislike accountability laws and charters, so it wasn’t surprising that, instead of helping the parents, Anaheim officials fought them.

Those who want to see how poorly the district treated the parents need only read the California appeals court’s decision from late April. As the ruling detailed, former state Sen. Gloria Romero, the Los Angeles Democrat who authored the trigger law and was assisting Anaheim parents, complained to the district that anonymous people identifying themselves as district employees had been calling petition signers and telling them that their names don’t “match” school records.

“Even if you are personally opposed to enforcement of the parent trigger law, I am sure you do not wish for these parents and their children to suffer unnecessarily,” Romero wrote, according to the court. “Obviously, your callers should stop making statements that sound like the parents are accused of wrongdoing, and the callers should identify themselves.”

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Let the parents of Palm Lane win

By  | Orange County Register

The kids at Palm Lane won again. Last week, the Fourth Appellate District court upheld the right of parents at Palm Lane Elementary in Anaheim to turn it into a charter school.

The appellate court’s unanimous decision builds on the Anaheim Elementary School District’s 2015 loss, when Orange County Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks found the district’s actions in denying the parents of Palm Lane’s request to transform their school under the state’s parent-trigger law “procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”

But the district still seems to be in denial about the outcomes for Palm Lane students.


The Anaheim Elementary School District must show that it is not content with failure. End this fight with the parents of Palm Lane.

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PLF files brief in Anaheim school district ‘parent trigger’ law case

By Caleb Trotter

Today, PLF, along with Parent Revolution, filed this amicus brief in the California Court of Appeal in the case of Anaheim City School District v. Cecilia Ochoa. At issue in the case is whether California’s Parent Empowerment Act–also known as the “parent trigger”–applied to Palm Lane Elementary School in Anaheim during the 2013-14 school year. Parents used the Act to petition to convert Palm Lane into a charter school after the school was deemed a failing school year after year. The school district, however, tried to avoid the Act by claiming that the Act didn’t apply during the 2013-14 school year. Fortunately, the trial court rejected the school district’s arguments, but the school district has appealed.

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Court Sides with Parents, Upholds Parent Trigger Petition

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.”

Read the court documents here. Read trial highlights here.