Meanwhile, Georgia Republicans Pull Parent Trigger Bill “Amid Concerns From It’s Own Party”

Parent Trigger died in the Georgia senate after the bill was pulled by it’ republican sponsor because members of his own party raised serious concerns.  The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta), withdrew the bill when it became clear it wouldn’t pass through the Senate. From Wayne Washington in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

If 60 percent of student households or 60 percent of teachers and instructional staff petitioned for a traditional school to be changed into a charter school, the local school board could only reject that petition if two-thirds of its members voted to do so.

If the traditional public school was a low-achieving school, parents and teachers could force the school board to also consider several turnaround options for the school, some of which include removal of the principal.

Teachers and parents could sign a public petition or hold a meeting and vote in secret, something Lindsey argued would protect them from possible retribution.

Lindsey had touted the legislation as a way to spur meaningful dialogue between parents and school boards.

But Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, said he worried that the bill would open the door to teachers being pitted against administrators.

“I just think you’re opening Pandora’s Box and putting teachers in a very difficult position,” Millar said when the bill was debated during a subcommittee meeting Wednesday.

Tippins said he would not back the bill if it allowed parents and teachers to vote in secret.

“I’ve got a problem with secret ballots,” Tippins said. “I just believe people ought to stand up and be

The bill was opposed by a variety of public education groups. Officials from those groups, mindful of Lindsey’s influence in the Legislature, were careful in discussing the bill’s fate.

“I think the bill needed more evaluation and more understanding of its impact before becoming law,” said Tracey-Ann Nelson, government relations director for the Georgia Association of Educators. “We can’t just pass laws because they sound good.”

AJC education writer Maureen Downey adds this:

The Georgia bill had three unique aspects. It gave the final say-so to local boards of education. It permitted teachers in failing schools to also petition for a management overhaul. And it allowed parents in high achieving schools to petition to turn their schools into charter schools.

The Senate had already made a major alterations to Lindsey’s bill, eradicating the provision that allowed teachers in failing schools to petition schools boards for a management overhaul

How can a caucus of republicans from a neighboring state show good sense and Florida’s be such rigid ideologues? Georgia republicans don’t have to take orders from Jeb Bush’s foundations and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Lobbyist from both were at yesterday’s House hearing to support  Florida’s Parent Trigger bill.

Are events unfolding similarly in Florida? Kelli Stargel’s senate version of Parent Trigger hasn’t yet taken a step. Word came yesterday that the senate doesn’t particularly care for the House’s language on a bill which allows  charter schools to take  over public school property. According to Gradebook’s Jeff Solocheck, “the bill has caused “significant pause” among state senators, who are considering a compromise that wouldn’t so directly benefit charter schools only.”

As this senate proposal is a bipartisan effort between Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) and Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) it’s clear there are more thoughtful and independent policymakers in the senate. Montford was bitterly opposed to Parent Trigger last year. Two republican senators who voted no last year  on Trigger remain  – Nancy Detert and Charlie Dean. The number is three if you include Alan Hays, as his no vote was political payback against president Mike Haridopolis. It could be that the senate delay is coming from an unwillingness to go through another bloody battle again over a bill that’s so divisive. Or do they already know that a Rick Scott veto awaits?


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to Meanwhile, Georgia Republicans Pull Parent Trigger Bill “Amid Concerns From It’s Own Party”

  1. flbusbaby says:

    We don’t need more Jebucation in Florida! If you live in Florida, understand that the parent trigger will only “empower” parents to sign a petition that will give all control of their school away to a corporation, most of which are for profit, so the new bottom line for that school will be dollars, not students. Much better options already exist for parents of children in “failing”schools”. Please sign and share this petition with everyone you know in Florida. You may also want to contact your area state legislators this weekend and let them know you do not support this bill. Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Will Florida Republicans Block Parent Trigger Again? | Diane Ravitch's blog

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