Last year, parents of students in failing California public schools were given a reason to be hopeful when Sacramento politicians passed something called the “parent trigger” law. The way the law works is that if 51% of parents at a failing school sign a petition, they can turn the school into a charter school, replace the staff or simply use the petition as a bargaining chip to initiate a conversation about change.

On December 7, 2010, with help from the non-profit group Parent Revolution, parents of children attending McKinley Elementary in Compton became the first group of parents to pull the parent trigger. Their dream was to transform the school into a Celerity charter school. Instead, the Compton parents were thrust into a prolonged fight with supporters of the status quo: the Compton Unified School District, the teachers’ unions, Gov. Jerry Brown and Tom Torlakson, the newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction.

This is the story about a group of parents in Compton who are fighting to give their children a better education.

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