Basic Overview


What is the California Parent Trigger?

The California Parent Trigger is an historic new law that gives parents in California the right to organize and demand a real change at their child’s failing school. Under the Parent Trigger, parents at persistently low-performing schools can organize and transform their school based on what's good for children, not adults.  If they are able to gather 51% of parent signature at their school their district must implement one of four turnaround models (including in-district reforms such as staff changes and out-of-district reforms such as charter conversion). 

To download a copy of the California Parent Trigger law, click here.

What are the different school transformation options?

Bargaining power - If parents want changes but the school district just won’t listen to them, they can organize, get to 51%, and use their signatures as bargaining power.

Turnaround Model - If parents want big changes but want to leave the school district in charge, this option may be for them. It forces the school district to push the reset button by bringing in a new staff and giving the local school community more control over staffing and budget.

Transformation Model- This is the least radical change. It forces the school district to find a new principal, and make a few other small changes.

Restart Model (Charter Conversion) - If there is a nearby charter school that is outperforming your child’s failing school, parents can bring in that charter school to transform the failing school. That charter school operator, not the school district, will then run the school but it will continue to serve all the same students that have always attended the school.

What schools are eligible for the Parent Trigger?

Only schools that have been identified as systemically failing are eligible for parents to use the Parent Trigger.  To be eligible, a school must be in Program Improvement Year 4 or above, have an API score under 800, and not be part of the federal “School Improvement Grant” program.  

To see the entire list of Parent Trigger eligible schools in California, click here.