Parents with children in California's failing schools (and out of 9000 public schools in the Golden State, 1300 now qualify as "failing") got an unexpected lifeline last January. As part of the Democrat-led legislature's unsuccessful attempt to get a piece of the Obama Administration's Department of Education "Race to the Top" funds, they passed a law which includes a provision giving parents the legal right to demand intervention at failing schools in the form of a charter school, a school closure and transfer of their children, or a staff/curriculum overhaul. Eager parents in Compton--a city "known best for its political corruption, racial division, and gang violence"--were on the case without haste. They got the requisite number of signatures and were well on their way to demanding a charter school when (prepare yourself for the shock!) union-backed bureaucrats stepped in and tried to shut them down on a technicality.
Ben Boychuk has been following this story in great detail over at the Heartland Institute's
website and, more recently and in greater detail, at the City Journal
. Both pieces are well worth a read and Ben is, as always, worth following--especially on matters related to education reform.