Yesterday’s passage of the Florida house’s version of parent trigger legislation is already drawing defensive posturing by it’s most publicized advocate, Parent Revolution. Writes Marcos Restrepo in The Florida Independent:
According to a California-based organization backing Florida’s controversial “Parent Trigger bill,” the measure isn’t being led by charter schools or business-backed groups, and actually has the support of many in the public school system.
Among its many provisions, the controversial “Parent Trigger bill“ would authorize parents of students who attend a failing public school “to submit a petition to the school district requesting implementation of a school turnaround option…..
Linda Serrato of Parent Revolution, a California organization supporting the bill, tells The Florida Independent that isn’t the case. “This is not an effort led by charter schools to come in and take over [public] schools,” says Serrato. “There is a very strong base of public school support in our organization.”
Serrato says that her group first though that if all parents agreed on an issue, school districts would have to listen. It eventually became clear, however, “that districts didn’t have to listen.”
“We started to think about this like a union,” says Serrato says, adding that “parents needed a walk-out law” that would allow them to use one of Obama’s Race to the Top solutions or turn-around options.
Lets ponder these: “…think about this like a union”……..”there is a very strong base of support for public schools in our organization” …….. and then the ultimate whopper,”this is not an effort led by charter schools to come in and take over [public] schools.”
Parent Revolutions own rhetoric easily dispatches with Serrato’s outrageous statement that his organization even remotely supports public education. Serrato, who’s salary is paid for by the same people who fund charter school interests, would be the first one to rail indignantly over an amendment which would provide existing charter school parents the right to vote for their school to be a public one.
Predictably, the republicans in the Florida House voted down Rep. Dwight Bullard’s amendment which would do just that. So much for choice.
I doubt that HB 1191′s sponsor, Rep. Michael Belica, R-Miami, would want his bill to be labeled as an unfunded mandate. He doesn’t have to as analysis of the bill conveniently states that the bill “does not have a fiscal impact on state or local governments.” No serious person believes that any far-reaching policy like this won’t cost anything or add layers of government. Perhaps they can restate the same lie they used on SB 736 – Race to the Top grants will fund it.
And finally, there’s the little matter that HB 1191 will make teacher evaluations public. New York City’s release of it’s teachers’ rankings proved to be chaotic within hours. This principal showed how inaccurate the rankings were. Even Bill Gates said this was a bad idea. Belica - and by his support, Jeb Bush – are setting the stage for such chaos to be replicated throughout the entire state.
Governor Rick Scott cannot dodge accountability for the results of so many republican omissions and commissions in education policy legislation thats passed during his two sessions. He pushed for parent trigger long before HB 1191 was penned. He stacked his education transition team with three charter school executives and the team was run by one parent triggers biggest advocates in Patricia Levesque who said this after HB 1191′s passage:
“The Parent Empowerment Act is a crucial step towards building a world-class education system. Because of lawmakers’ bold move to equip parents with the tools to enact real change, Florida’s moms and dads will be able demand the high quality education their children deserve.”
Levesque, along with the rest, will now be assigned accountability and responsibility for the big lies of Florida’s parent trigger law. In the event senate leadership is able to get past its own attempts to railroad its version of the legislation, Florida’s governor will be signing education policy into law of breadth and uncertainty not yet experienced in any state.