Education

Four Years Ago, Parents Wanted To Take Over This School. Now, It's Succeeding

Michael Ramirez, a first-grade teacher at 20th Street Elementary School just south of downtown L.A., teaches a lesson in his bungalow classroom on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo by Kyle Stokes/KPCC)
Michael Ramirez, a first-grade teacher at 20th Street Elementary School just south of downtown L.A., teaches a lesson in his bungalow classroom on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo by Kyle Stokes/KPCC)
Kyle Stokes/KPCC

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Four years ago, dissatisfied parents at 20th Street Elementary School were so unhappy with the L.A. Unified School District's management of the school that they threatened to invoke California's "parent trigger" law.

The law allows parents at an school deemed "underperforming" to start a petition. If enough signed, the law lets parents "trigger" big changes — like closing the school down or, in 20th Street's case, converting to a charter school.

But ultimately, parents at 20th Street backed down on their "trigger" campaign. They made a deal with L.A. Unified and with a new day-to-day operator for the school, the Partnership for L.A. Schools.

Since then, the school’s test scores have vastly improved — all with essentially the same teaching staff as before, and without converting to a charter school. How did 20th Street Elementary pull this off?

LISTEN: Part One | Part Two

Read the story on LAist.com.