Take a look at this Google doc of the newly revised Parent Empowerment bill, notable for the clean sweep of any mention of teachers or educators. See my blog yesterday on the odd changes to this bill.
Sponsored by House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, the bill initially had been called the Parent and Educator Empowerment bill, but you can’t find the words “teacher” or “educator” any longer. (I have sent Lindsey a note for comment, but have not heard from him.)
In its original form, House Bill 123 allowed a majority of teachers and parents in a low-performing school to petition to the school board for new management of their schools.
The bill, which passed the House, was discussed in a Senate subcommittee today. However, the subcommittee could not vote the bill out as it lacked a quorum at the time.
State Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, explained why he excised teachers from the bill. He noted that teachers are not part of the parent trigger laws in the seven states that have such legislation, which is correct. Legislatures in Florida and Oklahoma are also now considering parent trigger laws
The existing parent trigger laws speak only to parents triggering a takeover of a failing school. However, those existing laws also don’t speak to parents at any schools, even high performing ones, seeking management conversion to charters, which is a key provision in the proposed Georgia law.
One point that Millar raised would seem to have some validity: If teachers go to the school board to petition for a management takeover, they could be subject to retaliation if the petition fails and they have to go back to work for the same bosses.
Lindsey addresses that possibility in his bill by allowing the teacher vote to seek a management change to be a secret ballot. However, the bill requires that a majority of teachers support the petition. The argument can be made that the school management would be angry at the entire staff or, at the very least, suspicious of all of them.
Some theories making the rounds in the Gold Dome for why teachers were struck from the bill: The bill has opposition, and this issue could be volatile enough to derail it. Teachers were only included in the bill initially to gain passage in the House. The teacher petition takeover smacked too much of teacher unions so the Senate eliminated it.
–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog