Archive for the ‘parent trigger laws’ Category

Challenge is not only opening good charter schools, but closing bad ones. A new national discussion begins.

Mike Ritter/AJC

Mike Ritter/AJC

While Georgia seeks ways to open more high-performing charter schools, other parts of the country are engaging in a different challenge: How to close under-performing ones.

The House passed a parent trigger bill that would have allowed parents in even top-rated schools to petition their school boards to convert their school to a charter school. (The bill stalled late last week in the state Senate but could be attached to another bill and come up again.) The recently resurrected Charter Schools Commission is beginning to consider applications for new charters.

Charter schools are public schools that operate under individualized contracts that award them more freedom and flexibility in exchange for a pledge of higher student achievement. To expand parental choice, many states, including Georgia, have been eager to open charters, but less diligent in closing them when the promised achievement doesn’t materialize.

In his study, “Improving Charter School …

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Parent trigger bill stalls in Senate: The trigger wasn’t pulled but the bill was.

Earlier this session, folks in the Georgia Senate told me that the parent trigger bill was unlikely to win passage. I thought they were wrong when the bill flew through the House but today’s events suggest my sources were right.

House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, withdrew his parent-trigger charter school legislation amid doubts by his GOP Senate colleagues.

Seven states have enacted parent trigger laws; Georgia was among three state considering them. House Bill 123 would have allowed a majority of the parents or a majority of the faculty and instructional staff  to petition for a complete overhaul of the school by converting to charter school status or another turnaround model.

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 …

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Parent trigger on agenda today. Is the bill fatally flawed?

A Senate committee takes up the parent trigger bill today.

Originally, House Bill 123 allowed a majority of the parents or teachers in a failing school to petition the school board for a complete overhaul of a the school by converting to charter school status or another turnaround model. The bill specifies that the parents can remove school personnel, including the principal, or mandate the complete reconstitution of the school. In a feature unique to the Georgia bill, even parents of high performing schools can apply for their schools to convert to a charter school.

But House Bill 123 underwent dramatic change in its move from House passage to Senate consideration. The Senate eliminated any mention of teachers in failing schools being able to petition for a management overhaul. The Senate version limits that power to parents.

I asked the bill’s sponsor, House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, for a comment.

“We’ll see what the Senate committee does with my bill.  …

Continue reading Parent trigger on agenda today. Is the bill fatally flawed? »

Clean sweep of teachers in Senate parent trigger bill

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 …

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Parent and Educator Empowerment Act moves from House to Senate. Teacher empowerment erodes along the way.

downeyart0726 (Medium)A Senate subcommittee takes up the parent trigger bill this morning at 8.

As the Parent and Educator Empowerment bill moved from the House to the Senate, one piece apparently was lost in the journey: Teacher power.

According to the legislative update posted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators:

The official name of HB 123, formerly called the “Parent and Educator Empowerment Act” has been changed in a Senate substitute version to the “Parent Empowerment Act.”

HB 123 allows parents to vote to convert their school to charter status. An important portion of the bill which allows teachers to petition their school board to adopt a school turnaround model has been amended in the new substitute version to exclude teachers.

Since the bill has yet to be heard in subcommittee, the reasoning behind the changes is unclear. PAGE has deep concerns about the alterations. Our longstanding position regarding school turnaround and charter schools is that parents, …

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House passes parent trigger bill. It now goes to the state Senate.

Georgia’s version of a parent trigger bill passed the House last night. It must now win Senate approval.

House Bill 123, the Parent and Teacher Empowerment Act, allows for petitions by parents or teachers to convert their school to a charter school or adopt another turnaround model. The bill requires the local school board approve the petition and calls on the state Board of Education to act as a referee when there are disputes between petitioners and local boards.

A petition may be submitted by a majority of the parents or a majority of the faculty and instructional staff members. The bill allows parents at any school — even a high performing one — to petition for their school to become a charter school,  stating  “…a petition may be submitted to convert any local school to a charter school.”

But the bill largely speaks to low performing schools. Parents at schools designated low performing can petition to:

(1) Remove school personnel, including the principal and personnel …

Continue reading House passes parent trigger bill. It now goes to the state Senate. »

Parent trigger and charters: As we offer more school choice, what happens to children left behind?

grabarart0920Shanna Miles is an educator and a parent working in the metro Atlanta area. An avid literacy advocate, she lobbies to ensure that every child has access to a free and public library in a community.

She wrote this piece for the Monday print AJC education op-ed page.

By Shanna Miles

In the 1840s, Irish Catholic parents lobbied for local control of schools so that their children wouldn’t be indoctrinated by a Protestant curriculum.

In 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower had to call in the National Guard to lead nine African-American children past a picket line of angry white parents who were outraged that their school was to be integrated.

Fast-forward a half-century or so, and the war between government and parents still rages with the passage of Amendment 1 and the introduction of the “Parent Trigger” charter bill. Now winding its way through the Legislature, House Bill 123 would allow parents and teachers to force a local school board to consider their petition to change their …

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Parent trigger: Can parent takeovers improve schools?

Are parents the solution to failing schools?

That’s the theory behind parent trigger laws, which allow a majority of parents in a failing school to petition and win control of the school and impose their own reform blueprint. Originating in California in 2010, the laws allow parents to take over a systematically failing school if they collect signatures from the majority of families.

But do the trigger laws really fire blanks?

A increasing criticism of parent trigger laws is that, while they involve parents at the start in organizing the petition drives to pull the trigger, the most realistic outcome is the hiring of an outside management firm to run the reconstituted school.

In fact, the possible ascendancy of for-profit education management companies contributed to the defeat of a parent trigger bill in Florida last year because parent groups argued that the law would lead to corporate interests exploiting the schools.

The Georgia General Assembly is now considering the …

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Do parent trigger laws fire blanks? Is it parents who really take over schools or management companies?

In explaining the impetus for his parent trigger bill,  House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, cited the need to get parents and school boards talking.

“It creates an additional avenue of communication directly from the parents to the school board, which I think is critically important.” Lindsey told a media assemblage earlier this month.

Wouldn’t coffee chats be an easier way to get parents and school boards talking?

House Bill 123 allows a majority of the parents or a majority of the faculty and instructional staff  to petition for a complete overhaul of the school by converting to charter school status or another turnaround model.

The bill specifies that the parents can:

1) Remove school personnel, including the principal and personnel whose performance has continued not to produce student achievement gains;

(2) Mandate the complete reconstitution of the school.

(3) Mandate that the parents have the option to relocate their student to other public schools in …

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Students First? Michelle Rhee’s report card: Is the issue more choices or better choices?

Michelle Rhee's advocacy group, StudentsFirst, released state report cards, but the grades have no relation to student achievement.

Michelle Rhee's advocacy group, StudentsFirst, released state report cards, but the grades have no relation to student achievement.

All the discussion about expanding school choice through private school tax credits, charter schools and vouchers glosses over a critical caveat: More choices don’t necessarily lead to better choices.

Earlier this week, Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization released a report card on state education policy determined in large part by the extent of school choice afforded families and the effort to dismantle teacher unions.

By focusing on public policy, the StudentsFirst report card looked more on State Houses than schoolhouses. Georgia earned a D-plus because StudentsFirst felt the state doesn’t go far enough in providing information and choices to  parents.

While the StudentsFirst report card considerations are extensive, they don’t include student outcomes, which is why Louisiana dramatically outscores Massachusetts, the state that …

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