One Compton mom was summoned to a conference with her son’s teacher, who told them he was a lousy student who wouldn’t be admitted if the school takeover was successful. (A lie; schools reorganized under California’s parent-trigger law are required to admit everybody.) Another parent signed a formal complaint that his kid, late returning to class from the bathroom, was lectured “that his parents are there complaining about education but can’t get him to class on time . . . [they] have a big mouth and they’re crazy.” A number of parents said they were threatened with deportation if they didn’t withdraw support for the takeover.
Result: The Compton takeover effort died in court. That’s surely what teachers and administrators hope to achieve in another Southern California school, Desert Trails Elementary, located in down-at-the-heels Adelanto. With similar numbers to McKinley’s — nearly three-quarters of the school’s sixth-graders couldn’t read or do arithmetic at their grade level — Desert Trails’ parents tried the trigger route, too.
They ran into most of the same tactics and worse. Some parents who refused to withdraw their signatures from the takeover petition had their pictures taken by teachers’ union operatives, worrisome in a community where a good part of the 58-percent Hispanic population undoubtedly has shaky immigration status. The school district stalled consideration of the petitions, then claimed that the signatures of parents whose kids had graduated or dropped out no longer counted.
The tactics were so egregious that a judge finally ordered the school district to knock it off. The parents hope to have their school up and running next fall. Maybe it will offer a remedial course in civics for unionized teachers