Putting Education Reform To The Test

Governor’s Proposed Parent Trigger Law Looms for Florida Educators


We’ve heard about Governor Rick Scott’s proposed “parent trigger law,” which would give parents the power to shut down low performing schools and transform them into charter schools.  Now we’re hearing from some of the people who would be impacted by the change.

Maria Mendoza’s daughter attends an underperforming elementary school in Ft. Myers. She told the Fort Myers News-Press the school and the teachers could be better. Her daughter took it a step further, saying she likes the school, “but they could teach the subjects better.” 

Most districts offer some sort of school choice program, and many are mulling how to make those programs work for more kids. The parent trigger bill hasn’t been filed with the Florida Legislature yet, but the kind of reform it would bring has long been part of Gov. Scott’s agenda.

Shortly after he took office, Scott named a Michelle Rhee as his education advisor, who is in step with his goal of giving parents more control over schools. Rhee spent three years as chancellor of the public school system in Washington, DC.  She made headlines for closing schools and firing hundreds of teachers and administrators. She resigned in the fall of 2010 and founded StudentsFirst, whose mission is “to build a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform.”

One of the movement’s priorities is to empower parents “to trigger the turnaround of a failing school….A true students-first system would give parents power to choose among several quality school options.”

How do teachers feel about the “parent trigger” proposal? After all, there’s been plenty of talk about how to deal with underperforming teachers. Ileane Flores, a teacher at Riverdale High School in Ft. Myers, told the Fort Myers News-Press, “I think there should be a bill for teachers to help eliminate underperforming parents…I think parents have a lot of control over their children’s education, but they’d just rather blame the institution than take steps with their own child to improve their education.”


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