Test scores are down, once again, at Desert Trails Elementary.
The top three district administrators have abandoned ship within the last few months.
The district is borrowing against its reserves just to pay its bills.
School board members have openly defied a court order and may face jail time or other court punishment, with one board member literally daring the court to haul him off the jail, saying “If I’m found in contempt of court, I brought my own handcuffs, take me away. I don’t care anymore.”
This is a district – and a school – in meltdown.
The people who run Desert Trails Elementary say to disregard the history of failure they have shown us - the falling school scores, the abandonment and abdication of leadership, and the continued patterns of decline.
They say, “Forget about all of that and trust us.”
They say, “Trust them with the future and education of our kids.”
“It will be worth the wait,” they say.
I say - I will believe it when I see it. I say that we can’t afford to wait on miracles.
And I am not alone.
I speak with the backing of hundreds of other parents with children enrolled at Desert Trails to say the time has come for change.
Located 80 miles north of Los Angeles, Desert Trails Elementary School is by all accounts a failing school. It ranks in the bottom 10 percent of schools statewide and is dead last in the district. Last year, two-thirds of the children failed the state reading exam. Nearly 80 percent failed the science exam. The school hasn’t met state standards for six years.
We have a four-year daughter and a ten-year old son who attends local Desert Trails Elementary School. For the past four years, we’ve seen our son’s education – and future - slip away.
With each passing year and each failing school score, we are told to wait. They say, “Don’t worry about this year’s scores (or last year’s or the years before that), just give us time and we will fix it.” I say, “We can’t afford to wait any longer and risk sending both our kids to the same.”
Our son has a less than 5 percent chance of attending college based on the academic failure of Desert Trails. Any caring parent knows that this is unacceptable.
No more waiting for miracles. It is time to move forward.
There will be no single miracle that will make our school perfect tomorrow. We parents know this and are committed to remaining engaged in support of school leadership who also understands the urgency of the needs of our children.
Unfortunately, the current leadership at Desert Trails Elementary doesn’t get it. So we’re done waiting. Our kids can’t afford to wait for another year of falling scores at a failing school.
If you were me, what would you do?
Jose Morales is the Recruitment Coordinator for the Desert Trails Parents’ Union and a parent of two children.