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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee groups attack parent trigger 'myths'



Representatives from Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst and California-based Parent Revolution held court in Tallahassee today to tell reporters why attacks on the parent trigger bill moving through the Florida House (but not yet the Senate) are misguided.

The bill would allow parents at failing public schools to petition for different reform models in their schools, including a conversion to charter status. It also would prevent students from having teachers deemed "ineffective" in consecutive years in the same subject area.

So far, it's largely been opposed by Democrats and supported by Republicans.

A sample argument:

"Misconception - Parents are not the experts on how to run a school —let teachers and principals do their jobs.

"Fact - Parents ARE the experts when it comes to the needs of their children. There are literally hundreds of studies showing the more parents are involved in their child’s education, the more they succeed in the classroom. We are not putting parents in positions of authority inside a school (they can’t choose curriculum, fire teachers, or control the budget); we are giving them a voice in shaping the future of their school."

See the group's handout, Debunking Parent Empowerment Myths, for more of their argument.

After the briefing, a Florida Education Association spokesman questioned the motivation and the true support for parent trigger.

"Why are not parents from this state participating in this conversation?" Jeff Wright of the FEA told the Buzz. "We have parents in Florida... We don't need California or the Foundation's help."

The parent trigger narrowly failed in the Senate in the waning hours of the 2012 legislative session. It is one of Bush's top legislative priorities this year. Read more from State Impact Florida.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 2:41pm]


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