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California's First Preschool Created Under State's 'Trigger' Law Opens

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Cross-posted from the Early Years blog.
Parents are hoping that the first preschool conceived under California's so-called parent-trigger law will improve academic achievement in the K-5 school where it will be housed in December.

The 24th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles lost its previous pre-k program due to budget cuts, according to the school district newsletter, but parents rallied to put together a new program, then invoked the law to do so.

The Los Angeles Unified School District will oversee the pre-k program, which will be run by a local contractor called LA Up, the newsletter stated.

"As parents, we know that pre-k is one of the most important things for our children's success later in life," said Eloisa Alcala in an e-mail. "We want our children to have the best opportunities, and pre-k offers a huge jump start.  It was something we believed to be fundamentally important for our children."

"Early learning affects childhood learning disproportionately," added Derrick Alan Everett, the deputy national communications director of Los Angeles-based Parent Revolution, the advocacy organization that helped families utilize the trigger law, in an interview with Education Week's Julie Blair. (Parent Revolution has been involved in several efforts to transform schools. Read more about Desert Trails here.) 

Under the 2010 Parent Empowerment Act, families can implement changes provided they collect signatures on a petition, he said. Changes might include replacing staff, adding programs and even reconstituting a school.

"This is an opportunity to reset the school and bring about changes," Everett said.

In the case of the pre-k program, some 50 parents collected signatures on a petition to bring it to 24th Street School, the school district newsletter stated. Then, after discussions with LAUSD, parents picked LA Up as a contractor. About 90 3-year-old children are on a wait list for the program, the newsletter stated.

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