In the dusty Mojave Desert town of Adelanto, Calif., 12 of the district's 13 schools are failing. Desert Trails Elementary is the worst. The school ranks in California's bottom 10 percent. That's why, last summer, a group of frustrated parents decided to take control. For more than a year, they've been working to implement the so-called parent trigger, a contentious California law that gives parents the power to seize their children's school and force change.
Introduced in 2010, the parent trigger law mandates that, if at least 50 percent of parents at a persistently failing school sign a petition to wrest control, they can legally force in-district changes, convert the school into a charter, or close the school altogether. Here, pro-trigger moms walk their children to class.