ALEC member, Naperville legislator sponsors Illinois parent trigger law

Thanks to Substance newspaper for alerting us to the introduction of a parent trigger law proposal in Illinois.Gun - Trick

HB3295 is sponsored by Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville. Senger is a member of the ALEC corporate “reform” legislation writing cauldron.  ALEC’s “Stand your ground” proposal became notorious in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing. Senger’s proposed law is a clone of another ALEC-inspired proposal, the parent trigger.

Senger’s proposal:

Provides that the parents of at least 51% of students in a low-performing school may initiate reform measures at the school through the submission of a parent petition to the school board. Provides for submission of a notice of petition. Provides that the petition shall request that the school board fully intervene in the school and implement one of the following reform measures: (1) reopen the school as a charter school; (2) change the school leadership; (3) close the school and reassign students currently attending the school to another school at the appropriate grade level within the same school district; or (4) adopt a new school governance structure. Upon receiving a copy of a petition signed by the parents of at least 51% of the students in a low-performing school, requires the school board to implement the reform measures requested in the petition.

Naperville has no “low-performing schools” and no charter schools, though I did find this pending proposal for an 18-district virtual charter school including Naperville, submitted by former CPS Chief of E-Learning Sharnell Jackson. More on that here.

However, you may remember that our own Mayor Emanuel promoted parent trigger laws for a while during his mayoral campaign.

As with most pet proposals by the corporate reform set, parent trigger laws have never improved a school. In the few places where there have been attempts to implement a parent trigger law, big-budget Parent Revolution groups with funding from WalMart, Broad and Bill Gates sent paid organizers around who lie to parents in order to get them to sign their petitions to turn the school into a predetermined charter school.

Parents Across America has taken a position against parent trigger laws and in favor of local school council-style parent empowerment, which can actually improve schools. Our legislature should work to strengthen and support LSC rather than tout ALEC-style corporate reform.

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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.