Parent trigger anyone?
In 2010 California enacted the first parent trigger provision in their school reform law. The law suggests at least three models of reform in which one option allows a parent driven petition requesting a charter conversion for a school whose performance was not adequate for three consecutive years.
Parent triggers do not stand alone as the only means of school transformation as well as charter conversion are not the only option for parents. The law is to empower parents to take legal action and be held accountable to make effective changes in educating their children.
Many states have also followed suit to create some variation of a trigger law centered on empowering parents and failing public schools. It is also known as "school turnaround" in which the desired turnaround model may remove the school leader, some staff or convert to a charter. The school turnaround was introduced through the first Race to the Top grant proposals.
Some education reformers see these options as undemocratic, an attack on teachers, and unions along with an ongoing privatization of public education with tax dollars.
North Carolina, instead of enacting a trigger law lifted the charter cap and opened the flood gates as a preventive to persistently low-performing schools. North Carolina prescribes rigid accountability measures for charters and transparency. Over 30 schools since the 1990s in N.C. have been closed due to failing to educate or fiscal mismanagement.
As parent triggers are pulled around the country or being taken into consideration by other state legislators, we confidently conclude that there is a great need for true reform. Undoubtedly, a genuine effort must be attempted to bring healing to the public school system if schools are continuing to underperform and fail communities.