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Critics say 'parent trigger' bill favors charters over public schools

Florida parents are taking sides over a controversial piece of legislation known as the parent trigger.

The buzzed-about bill would let a majority of parents at low-performing public schools demand dramatic changes at the school, or even have it converted into a publicly financed, privately managed charter school. Similar laws have already passed in California and Texas, sparking debate and controversy along the way.

The Florida version comes in front of House and Senate panels today.

Supporters of the bill say it gives power to dissatisfied parents.

"The more we can do to empower parents and give them tools to enhance their children's education, the better outcomes we're going to get," said Rep. Michael Bileca, R-Miami, who is sponsoring the proposal in the House.

But a coalition of parent groups that includes the Florida PTA says the bill is really aimed at promoting charter schools and for-profit school management companies.

"This isn't about empowering parents," said Mindy Gould, legislative chair for the Florida PTA. "This is about handing over the neighborhood school to a private, for-profit corporation."

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Posted by KathleenMcGrory at 8:26:05 am on January 24, 2012