Here’s another way to help our kids
LITTLE ROCK — IN NEIGHBORING Tennessee, a state legislator from Memphis has filed a Parent Trigger bill. That’s the generic name for legislation that would allow a majority of parents whose kids are stuck in a failing public school to file a petition asking that the school be converted into a charter school, or some other kind that has a better chance of educating their kids properly.
Under a Parent Trigger law like California’s, parents can reform their kids’ low-performing school. In that state, low-performing is defined as a school that falls below 800 on California’s index of academic achievement. Each state could go by its own minimum requirements for a decent school.
Out in the Golden West, parents of kids stuck in such schools could change them. Radically. The way a patient with a dangerous cancer may need radical surgery.
Dissatisfied parents in California have a whole menu of choices when it comes to reforming a bad school: They could convert the failing school into a charter school, replace the old staff with a new one, dismiss its principal, or just close the school and relocate its students elsewhere. Which is what happens when a charter school fails. It needs to happen when traditional public schools fail, too.
Our kids are too important, and their futures too valuable, to lock them up in schools that fail them year after year.
Parent Trigger laws are part of a widespread parent revolution on behalf of their kids, whom they can see being held hostage by school administrations and teacher unions, aided and abetted by public apathy. No wonder parents want to reform schools that aren’t doing right by their kids, eating up their formative years by giving them a sub par education.
Who cares more about these children than their parents? This kind of law gives them the power to do more than just complain about what’s happening to their kids.
What this country needs (yes, we know there are a lot of nominations for that honor) is a parents’ union at least as strong as the teachers’ unions that have dominated public education for way too long, and with not the best results. Then it would be a fair fight.
Thanks to parents in revolt against mediocrity or worse, Parent Trigger laws started in California and now have spread to six others, including three that border Arkansas-Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Why not add Arkansas to the list while our own legislature is in session? Regnat Populus, the state motto says: The People Rule. Surely that includes parents. Especially when they’re trying to improve the education of their children.