What are the Parent Trigger implementing regulations?
After the Parent Trigger became law, it fell on the CA State Board of Education - an eleven-member board appointed by the Governor - to promulgate implementing regulations spelling out the details of how the law is to be implemented. (To learn more about the details of the final regulations and download a copy of the actual language, click here.
Why are they important?
These regulations were needed in order to spell out countless details - how parents selected their transformation option, how long districts could take to verify signatures, what type of information had to be on each petition, etc. - and were thus vital to parents' ability to actually use the law. When the parents at McKinley Elementary had to submit their Parent Trigger petitions before the regulations were finalized, The entire world saw first-hand how important the regulations were when Compton Unified used the lack of clear rules to implement a series of disenfranchisement tactics against the parents, forcing months of litigation.
How we did it:
On January 5, 2010, the State Board was less than a week away from wrapping up almost six months of work and finalizing the permanent implementing regulations, when newly-elected Governor Jerry Brown decided to fire a majority of the Board - which had included our Executive Director* and had been supportive of the regulations - on his first full day in office. The new Board decided to pull the regulations from the agenda of their upcoming meeting, and it appeared completely uncertain whether they ever intended to pass them. That situation grew even gloomier when, at the next State Board meeting, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced that the Board would not be finishing the regulations, but would instead work in the Legislature with one of the biggest opponents of the law to "clean up" the law.
Parents, however, refused to give up. On four occasions between February-September 2011, 50-100 parents boarded buses at midnight in Compton and rode all night to testify at the State Board meeting to demand that the Board pass fair, comprehensive, and empowering regulations. Virtually every newspaper in California published editorials - over 40 in total - calling on the Board to heed parents' demands. Meanwhile, two key stakeholder groups who had been opposed to the law in the legislature - the Association of California School Administrators and the California School Boards Association - came together with Parent Revolution in an ultimately successful attempt to draft a version of the regulations that all three organizations could agree upon.
And in September 2011, parents were finally able to claim victory as Governor Brown's State Board approved a final draft of regulations that met virtually every one of the parents' demands. This incredible and unlikely victory was further proof that organized, empowered, and passionate parents can create enormous change for their children when they stand up, stand together, and speak with one voice.