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Senate refuses to fast track ‘parent trigger’ legislation

The Senate is divided again. This time it is over the so-called "parent trigger" bill that would empower parents of children in failing and low-ranked schools to set in motion the firing of a principal and the shift in the school to a charter school.
The bill passed the House on Thursday on a party-line vote and Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher tried to pull the Senate companion by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto out of its last committee and directly onto the floor. But, after Democratic Leader Nan Rich objected, the motion failed to get the required two-thirds votes of the 40-member Senate and failed on a 20-19 vote.
Thrasher had a back up plan. He announced that the Senate will hold a rare Saturday morning meeting of the budget committee -- at 8 a.m. -- to take up the lone bill. "Be there or be square,'' he said after the vote.
The bill is a top priority of former Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future but is bitterly opposed by Florida's teacher's unions who say that it fails to give enough safeguards to schools and teachers.
It promises to also divide the Senate's already splintered Republican caucus. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, called the bill appears designed to expand the "empires" of for-profit charter school organizations.
"A huge number of schools could potentially be put out there for organization by the charter school industry,'' he said. "It's going to be like union organizating with pledge cards and everything. They can go out there and get signatures and I think this needs to be carefully investigated."
Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, supports the extra hearing for the bill.
"I think there are members who are very passionate about this issue,'' he said. "There's precedent in other states -- California has done that. I think the members should have every opportunity to debate it, discuss it."
The Senate divided bitterly earlier this session when Thrasher and Senate President Mike Haridopolos pushed through a bill to privatize state prisons, another issue that was strongly opposed by a state worker union. The measure was defeated 21-19.


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Not only is this bi-partisan legislation (even though the Dems publicly oppose it), but is was developed with input from the FEA, Democrat Caucus, and numerous school districts – and thousands of parents have come out in support of it! Unfortunately, that never seems to get reported on.

Even Obama’s own campaign guy and teacher’s union organizer, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has spoken out in favor of it:

“The Parent Trigger movement that started in Los Angeles and now is spreading across the nation encourages involvement in the education process and drums up the kind of support and encouragement necessary to build the foundations for student achievement. Parental empowerment and community intervention in education work to change our children’s lives and transform the communities surrounding them.”

It’s a shame that Florida has to politicize it because it’s supported by Republicans. As usual, the politics are detrimental to the people.


The man is right not to believe what the bill says. It will be just like the small arms aertty signed by Billary Clinton. They first poke small holes in areas. Sort of a test run if you will to see just how much they can get away with. Then they begin the systematic destruction of the working system. I'd be willing to wager that this contamination was imported food from other countries. I'm sure there were some homegrown though. You should think again if you think this gov. is working for you.

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