FL “parent trigger” bill turned around by parents

Congratulations to our powerful, tireless Parents Across America member, Rita Solnet, and other parents in Florida for taking a lemon of a bill (promoted as “parent empowerment”) and making it into something a lot more like lemonade!

According to the Tampa Bay Times,

Heading toward its first hearings, Florida’s proposed “Parent Empowerment Act” came uder blistering criticism from parent groups saying the initiative was a “scheme” to hand neighborhood schools over to private entities. Many parent groups immediately disavowed any input in the bill that supposedly is for them.

“They try to sell it as a piece of grassroots legislation,” said another parent about the so-called “parent trigger” law, but “It’s more astroturf.”

In a change that Illinois legislators and the Chicago school board ought to pay attention to, the Florida proposal now gives a fair hearing to parents’ ideas for school improvement:

In one key change, the bill would give school boards the power to select a perennially struggling school’s first reform plan. Parents could submit an alternate if they wish, and the board would then have to send that option to the state for consideration. “If the state board determines that the school turnaround option selected by the parents is more likely to improve the academic performance of students at the school, it shall remand the district school board’s implementation plan to the school board,” the draft states.

Bronzeville parents have been trying with little success to get CPS to pay attention to their “Bronzeville Global Achievers Village School Improvement Plan,” which is an alternative to closing even more schools in their community.

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.
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