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U.S. Debates the “Parent Trigger”

Chrissy Guzman speaks to the Adelanto School District board

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A new policy that gives parents unprecedented authority to make changes in the schools their children attend is gaining support and stirring controversy in the United States. Known as the “parent trigger,” the policy allows parents to vote on whether to make fundamental changes in their children’s schools. If a majority votes in favor, parents can replace the principal, replace the entire staff and maintain some control over the administration, temporarily close the school, or even convert it into a charter.

Passed first as California State law in 2009, the measure has since been considered by more than 20 state legislatures, with successful passage in Mississippi and Texas, and rejection in Florida. The measure has garnered significant support, including a unanimous endorsement by the U.S. Conference of Mayors led by democratic mayors Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Antonio Villagairosa of Los Angeles, and Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, as well as stiff opposition by teachers unions and some parent organizations. Proponents argue that the law empowers parents in poor neighborhoods whose education options are limited to failing schools. Opponents worry that the measure undermines public education, could lead to poor decisions by under-informed parents, and empowers companies with financial interests in expanding charter schools.

See the links below for news, opinions, and web links on the “Parent Trigger.”

News

Opinion

Websites

Image is from the Reuters article, “Mayors back parents seizing control of schools.”

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