By Marlene Romero’s count, her son has had just one effective teacher in his five years at McKinley Elementary School here. Most of the time, she said, he has merely shuffled through classrooms, struggling in math without ever getting extra help. So when an organizer came knocking at her door promising that if she signed a petition, her son’s school could radically improve, Ms. Romero immediately pledged her support. Now, she is one of more than 250 parents in Compton who are using a new state law to force the failing school to be taken over by a charter school...

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