Education Week reporter Katie Ash highlights a just released report on Parent Trigger Laws by the Annenberg Institute which concludes “that policymakers can address the shortcomings of academically low-performing schools in more productive ways.” Writes Ash:
Part of the problem, the policy brief asserts, is that parent trigger laws rely on parents to “trigger” the change, but leave them out of the process after that. “Parent Trigger legislation gives parents the ‘power’ to force the intervention but is silent on a continuing role for parents,” it says. “Furthermore, there is no evidence that chartering or closing a school, or replacing a school’s entire staff … create academic improvement in and of themselves.”
Emphasis mine and the implications are damning for proponents’ “choice” arguments. Florida’s republican legislators who attempted to pass parent trigger legislation last spring refused to address such inconsistencies.
The Annenberg brief goes into detail of advocacy group Parent Revolution’s role in two California parent trigger battles and found them to be “bitter, divisive and protracted.” Titled “Parent Trigger: No Silver Bullet,” the brief outlined three better strategies – two of which are already in place in Florida.
1. Collaboration and partnership between parents, students, teachers, and community members. Those teams of stakeholders should help design and implement a reform plan specific to that school after a thorough assessment of the challenges and strengths of the school.
2. Drawing attention to instructional practices and supports for teachers, putting in place a rigorous curriculum that is relevant to students, and creating a safe school environment.
3. A variety of wrap-around services for students and families, including access to mentors, college and career counselors, and tutors, and a potentially longer school day and/or year.
It is the first two which Florida utilizes now and which Sen. Evelyn Lynn (R-Daytona Beach) vehemently pointed out while facing down Parent Revolution operative Shirley Ford last March. Jeb Bush’s top lobbyist Patricia Levesque orchestrated the Parent Revolution show for the Florida legislature earlier this year and chose not to testify after seeing Ford so thoroughly discredited. It’s doubtful they will be back for another round.
The defeat of Parent Trigger by a tie in the Florida senate was a loss for Jeb Bush who had vigorously lobbied for the bill. Already on record as saying it will be back this year, Bush is becoming isolated. The Tampa Bay Times, Los Angeles Times and the CATO Institute are just a few voices to oppose the law. Will Bush arrogantly brush aside California’s chaos and bring this nonsense back again? Is he really willing to bring similar nightmare’s to Florida neighborhoods which have proven to pit families against each other and ruin relationships?