The phrase of the day was “give parents a seat at the table.”
Watching today’s meeting of the House Education Committee for HB 867 on The Florida Channel revealed the clear philosophical divide between the two sides on Parent Trigger. Under sharp questions from Democrats, bill sponsor Carlos Trujillo was forced to affirm that the concerns of opponents are justified.
1. An out-of-state group like Parent Revolution can come in can signatures because of “first amendment protections.”
2. No, a reverse trigger cannot be implemented as “parents can just choose to withdraw from the school created after Trigger.
3. No, the final decision is not up to local school boards as “disputes will be taken to the state board.”
Along with Trujillo, at least two other republican legislators – Janet Adkins of Fernandina Beach and Elizabeth Porter of Lake City – defended their support with a deceptively ambiguous “give parents a seat at the table.” Looks like someone got the talking points out there as a couple of the bill’s proponents used the same phrase during their testimony.
Porter shared a personal anecdote about being one of those parents as she had to move one of her children to Florida Virtual. She’ll need to fill in details of her story to explain how she didn’t have a seat at the table in her child’s education. Porter needs to also explain how Parent Trigger, with it’s focus on an entire school, would have given her a “seat at the table” on her child’s education needs.
In fact, she probably knows that parents already have a seat at the table. And she understands that the more a parent gets involved, the better the seat they have. If Porter stays with this justification for Parent Trigger, she’ll need to explain how her dispute about her child is somehow served by turning over that school to a private charter school operator is a solution.
And neither can an exasperated Trujillo who somehow couldn’t understand how this has “become such a partisan issue,” before making it one by asserting “the unions and the establishment that are trying to control the debate and trying to control jobs.” While FEA lobbyist Jeff Wright was there – he was stopped while reading aloud Paula Dockery’s opinion piece in Florida Voices – Trujillo glaring omission of wide-spread parent opposition to his bill was deceitful.
With all the concerns of Parent Trigger now justified, house republicans are left with advancing hyperbolic false narratives and mischaracterizing opponents. They haven’t explained why the bill is even necessary. Nor have they explained why this is a good idea for Florida.