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Haddon Parents Abandon Trigger, Still Get Changes

Hillel Aron | July 31, 2013

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Haddon Elementary Parents

Haddon Elementary Parents

In California public education, you sometimes don’t have to pull the trigger.

Parents of students at Haddon Avenue Elementary in Pacoima have ended their ‘parent trigger’ campaign to take over their school because they got what they wanted without it.

“I’m very happy that this resulted in some changes at the school,” Martha Martinez, the founder of the Haddon Parents union, said through a translator, “but I still want to be involved in being a part of the process moving forward.”

The parent trigger campaign had been going on for a couple years until it was paused in March. The following month, teachers at Haddon voted instead to become a Local Initiative School, which gives it various autonomies from LAUSD. According to Parent Revolution, a non-profit that helps plan and support signature-gathering efforts, the Haddon trigger campaign served as leverage to force the teachers into agreeing to various reforms.

But teachers told LA School Report, in April, that the two had nothing to do with each other and said the trigger campaign, which had gathered signatures from only about a third of all parents, was disruptive to the school. For a trigger campaign to proceed, supporters need signatures from a majority of parents.

While parents always had the option of resuming the collection of signatures, the campaign is effectively dissolved. According to a press release, Haddon parents who helped organize the trigger campaign declared “victory” last week, and will now return the petitions to the other parents.

Under Haddon’s new Local Initiative model (read a synopsis of the plan here), the school will have a number of freedoms from LAUSD policy. Perhaps most importantly, it will have control over who is hired. The teachers union contract will not be altered in any way, and no teachers or administrators will be forced to leave.

This week, the first school to be upended by a parent trigger campaign, Desert Trails Elementary in Adelanto, opened as a newly converted charter school. Next week, two trigger-affected LAUSD schools will open: 24th St. Elementary, which was taken over by a charter school / LA Unified partnership; and Weigand Elementary, whose principal was replaced.

Previous posts: Miller Joins Parent Revolution Celebrating Parents, TriggersSchool Board’s Strange Parent Trigger About-FaceSchool Board Gives Final Approval to 24th St. PlanTeachers Union Turning Back Against Parent Trigger

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