Senate Bill 1001 – Parent Trigger
The Oklahoma Senate this week voted 30-12 in favor of SB 1001 – the Parent Trigger Bill. If When this clears the House and the governor signs it into law, it will allow parents in certain circumstances to take control of the school and even demand principals lose their jobs. According to the bill’s Oklahoma author (because I refuse to pretend the bill was really written here), a school receiving a D or F grade for two straight years could be converted to a charter school if a majority of the parents agree.
The Tulsa World explains one problem with the proposed law:
Holt’s bill assumes a set of facts not in evidence – that charter schools, each an academic kingdom unto its own, always are superior to any public schools. “They are not,” points out Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Sayre. “They are statistically right in line with public schools.”
This is true. Oklahoma’s charter schools had lower grades than other state schools, overall. And this conversation doesn’t even begin to address the problem that Oklahoma’s accountability system is fatally flawed.
As written, SB 1001 will not allow parents to petition for change at an existing charter school. Think about this. If a school really belongs to the parents, why can’t they change charter operators? Or change back to a public school. For a glimpse into the road we’re heading down, let’s go to … you guessed it … Florida! When one Sarasota County school tried to fire its charter company, the company countersued. This dispute is ongoing and will be worth following.
It’s always good to be reminded that the profit/non-profit label doesn’t matter. Other than locally-elected school boards, the people who want to run your school for you are more interested in the fiscal bottom line than the students.
It’s also good to remember that parents didn’t ask for this law. In fact, parents will be holding a rally Monday at the Capitol, and one thing on the agenda is to speak against this bill. It is important to remind the party in control of our state that creating a solution to a non-existent problem is the very definition of government over-reach. If smaller government is really important to them, this isn’t it.
To be more fully informed, I recommend reading the entire bill.