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"From our perspective, the importance and value of parent trigger is that it gives a legal status and a legal mechanism that parents can invoke and use," said David Phelps, a spokesman for Parent Revolution. "It's important that parents have an equal place at the decision making table, that they be able to put forward a kids first agenda."
"We believe in parent empowerment (and) parents having a voice, but we believe the parent trigger doesn't do any of that and is just a stalking horse for privatization," said Julie Woestehoff, co founder of Parents Across America, a grassroots organization working to improve public education by bringing the voice of parents to education debates.
In most states, the laws allow parents to petition for change when a school fails to meet certain requirements, typically underperforming for a number of years. The options for parents vary by state but may include replacing a principal, converting a school to a charter school, or closing a school.
Parents revolt against failing schools
Story HighlightsSome states allow parents of kids in underperforming schools to petition to convert or close itThose against parent trigger laws say they a veiled attempt to privatize schoolsCalifornia is the only state where parents have succeeded in activating the trigger
In addition to Parent Revolution, parent trigger laws have been promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit coalition promoting conservative principles that provides model legislation to its members. ALEC claims 2,000 state lawmakers among its membership.
COLUMN: Movie doesn't do turnaround schools justice
PG; 2 hours, 1 minute
Parent Revolution, the Los Angeles nonprofit that spurred the original parent trigger law in California and has helped put other parent trigger laws in place across the country, argues the laws empower parents.
California in 2010 adopted the first parent trigger law in the nation. Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas, have since followed, according to Josh Cunningham, a policy specialist at NCSL.
In reality, trigger laws, which allow parents to intervene in a struggling school, are a lot more complicated and controversial.
in a dramatic tie vote in the state Senate on April 30, echoing the defeat of a similar bill last year also in the Senate. Proponents, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, argued the legislation would have empowered parents. Teachers unions and parents' groups countered the measure was an attempt to privatize education by handing over schools to private charter school operators.
Versions of parent trigger laws have been proposed in at least 25 states and adopted by seven, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In real life, parent triggers have been attempted only a handful of times.
Ben Austin, founder of Parent Revolution, with some of the parents and students of Desert Trails Elementary School in Adelanto, Calif., in July 2012.(Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY)
Opponents say parent trigger laws are a veiled attempt to privatize schools and that they have caught on only because Soccer Shoes White
Downside: Gyllenhaal Jamie falls into The Blind Side format of committed white person coming in to save the day.(Photo: Kerry Hayes, 20th Century Fox)
In the Hollywood version of parent trigger laws, motivated parents of children trapped in a failing inner city school join forces Nike Football Boots Yellow And Orange
'WON'T BACK DOWN': Filmmakers hope Gyllenhaal, Davis movie inspires reform
of the money being poured into groups like Parent Revolution, whose funders include the Walton Family Foundation and the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation. (There really was a Hollywood movie, Won't Back Down, produced by Walden Media, about two mothers, one a teacher, who join forces to save their failing school.) According to tax documents, Parent Revolution received $7.5 million from 2007 to 2011 to support its efforts.
In Florida, a parent trigger bill died Nike Soccer Shoes Pictures
Upside: The most fully rounded character is Davis Nona, a second grade teacher and mother to a bullied son.
This year, bills to either create new parent trigger laws or modify existing ones in some cases expanding them to potentially include more struggling schools are still alive in about a dozen states, while about a half dozen states have already rejected such legislation, Cunningham said.
to take over the institution and save their children's futures.
Back Down Plot: Single mom Jamie (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and second grade teacher Nona (Viola Davis) take on the Pittsburgh school system, Nike Football Boots Pink And Black in hopes of releasing it from the shackles of union restrictions and school board red tape.
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