Putting Education Reform To The Test


Everything You Need To Know About The "Parent Trigger"


The so-called “parent trigger” bill was the most controversial piece of education legislation in Tallahassee this year.

On a 20-20 tie vote, the idea narrowly failed on the Senate session’s final day.

Advocates say it will be back next year. Opponents say the bill does not have the support of Florida parent groups, such as the PTA.

The bills, HB 1191 and SB 1718, allow a majority of parents at chronically failing schools to vote on a method to restructure their neighborhood school. California was the first state to approve the law, and dozens of other states have followed suit.

But what does a “parent trigger” do? And how does this bill work? And why do people support and oppose it?

We’ve got those answers covered.

  • The trigger kicks in after a school has earned a failing federal rating two years in a row, three in the House version.
  • At that point parents can opt for one of four options: Replacing the principal and adding professional training; replacing staff and administration; converting to a charter school; or closing the school.
  • Once parents choose an option, the school board can submit an alternative plan if they disagree. The state board of education would decide which plan would work best for students.
  • The bill also reiterates that parents can review a teacher’s evaluation a year after its completion. If a student has a teacher rated “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” in a subject, the student can not be placed in a low-performing teacher’s classroom for that same subject a second year.

The bill has come under fire from some education activists who argue the parent trigger would allow public school facilities to be turned over to charter schools and for-profit operators.

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