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Mixed feelings on the parent trigger vote

Quite a few press releases went out after the Florida Senate killed the parent trigger bill on Tuesday. Here's a sampling.

Bob McClure, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute: "Many Florida parents whose children are assigned to a chronically failing school have been seeking better options. Unfortunately, the state Senate’s failure to pass parent empowerment legislation has denied these parents a remedy that is already available in several other states. As a result, too many of Florida’s children will be left behind in situations that stifle their academic growth and limit their future opportunities. Clearly the state has missed an opportunity to do what is in the best interest of these children. We hope that the Florida legislature will reconsider and choose to empower parents with the additional options necessary to provide their kids a fighting chance for a better future."

StudentsFirst Florida Director Nikki Lowrey: “Failing to pass the Parental Empowerment Bill means another year that hundreds of children in Florida will be trapped in schools that are failing them. Absolutely no parent should be forced to send their child every day into a failing school without a choice for finding a better education. Kids from low-income and minority families need a legislative solution to deliver equal access to the education they deserve, and this bill would have been that remedy. Despite this grim outcome, I would like to thank the legislators who stood boldly on their convictions for children, and supported this measure. StudentsFirst would also like to thank the thousands of parents, educators, and concerned citizens who made their voices heard in the face of hostile opposition. We pledge to stand tall beside them and demand equal access to a quality education for all of Florida’s kids.”

Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami: “As a teacher and advocate for our Florida students, I’m thrilled that Democrats and Republicans came together to bring this bill to a close.”

Florida Education Association President Andy Ford: “The parent trigger measure is a political device created by venture capitalists looking to rapidly expand for-profit charter school chains. Major parent groups in Florida opposed this bill. This bill depends on professional lobbyists and outside forces to use marketing forces to persuade parents in a challenged school to transfer a valuable public asset from the jurisdiction of an elected school board into the hands of a corporation.”

Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida's Future: “The choice today was simple, do you believe parents deserve a seat at the table or not. Senator Thrasher said it best, Parent Empowerment is about trusting parents. We are grateful for the 20 Senators and 68 House members who trust parents and voted to include them in the decision-making process on how to improve failing schools.”

Comments

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A PTA mom

The Florida Senate came together in a bipartisan way to deafeat a bad piece of legislation that has nothing to do with parent empowerment. This bill is about making it easier for charter schools to take over public schools, so they can make more money. Thank you to all those that had to courage to vote against it . In Miami Dade we are very grateful to Senators Garcia and Diaz de la Portilla.

Anti-Tallahassee

Reason wins. I wish I wasn't so surprised. We are grateful to the 20 Senators and 52 Representatives who saw through this attempt to divert public resources into the hands of profiteers. Jeb Bush, his proxy Patricia Levesque, et. al. are sleezy whores for corporate welfare.

Bryan Bouton

This horrible piece of legislation is a quick and easy way for charter companies (for PROFIT charter companies) to get their snouts into the public trough and steal tax dollars for their own bottom lines.
Schools, PUBLIC schools, educate children; for profit charters are out to increase the bottom line.
For every 1 F Public School in Florida there are 5 F charter schools. Additionally, there are no millions of dollars a year being shipped OUT of Florida to pay "management fees" for public schools.
The loss of local control is a major issue for me as well, considering I vote for my local school board and expect them to run the school system. If they do a poor job, I vote for others to correct that problem.
also, for the record, I am an educator and a FEA local President...as well as a Republican (and have been so since my first election over 30 years ago.)

Unions and Status Quo, 1; Parents and Kids in Failing Schools 0

More than 2/3 of Florida's 579 charter schools are run by non-profit organizations or local boards. I can't for the life of me understand why all these people attack "For-Profit" anything when our schools already spend BILLIONS with for-profit companies! Aren't textbook, curriculum and software producers for profit? Aren't school bus manufacturers for-profit? Aren't construction companies who build schools for-profit? Aren't Apple and PC manufacturers for-profit?? And also, how in the world would parent trigger make it any easier for a charter school management organization, for profit or not, to take over a school in Florida? This year, only 22 out of Florida's 3,000+ schools would have been eligible for any such trigger. No organization can hire people to collect signatures--they would all have to be collected on a volunteer basis. Under current Florida law, it is easier for a charter school company to open up a school from scratch, not through the parent trigger process. And even if parents successfully petitioned for a charter takeover to be the one of four turnaround options prescribed by the feds for failing schools, the state board would have to agree with that decision. When critics say parent trigger would have been a backdoor way for greedy corporate profiteers to take over public education, they are either lying through their teeth or honestly uninformed. What they really don't want is for more opportunities for anyone, for-profit or not, to be able to come and prove that poor children really can learn, and not only that, but typically for a lower cost than a district would charge. THAT's the issue, folks.

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