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The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools

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As regular readers know, I have very serious concerns about the so-called “parent trigger.” This California law (which may be spreading to other states) allows 51% of parents whose children attend a “low-performing” school ( or parents who will have children attending that school in the future), to sign a petition and have major changes made — closing it down completely, replacing the principal and extending the school plus other changes, replacing the principal and firing 50% of the teachers, or converting it into a charter school.

I thought I’d put together a “The Best…” list of related resources today, especially since the California State Board of Education is reviewing potential regulations this week on how to implement the law.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools (not in order of preference):

I’m going to start off with my Washington Post piece titled “The ‘Parent Trigger’ doesn’t help schools or parents.”

What’s really wrong with ‘parent trigger’ laws is the title of my newest piece in The Washington Post.

And I’m going to follow it up with another post I wrote headlined If It Quacks Like A Duck — Thoughts On The “Parent Trigger”

Seeking Something Better Than the Trigger by David B. Cohen may be the best piece written so far on the topic.

Amina writes on California’s Trigger law: is a thoughtful piece from Justice Matters.

Strengthen and straighten out state’s parent empowerment process is from the President of the California State PTA.

The Los Angeles Times has a surprisingly good editorial titled A better ‘parent trigger’

State faces a moving target in implementing ‘parent trigger’ law is the title of an article in today’s Los Angeles Times. It offers good information and analysis.

Parent Empowerment or Parent Manipulation? by Martha Infante is a blog post at InterACT, the blog of Accomplished California Teachers.

Emily Alpert, a San Diego reporter on education issues (whose articles I like a lot), has written a good, short article on the parent trigger.

Parent Trigger Supporters Attack PTA, Compare Schools To Batterers is the title of another post I’ve written.

Parent ‘Trigger’ Law Draws Attention, Controversy is the headline of a new article in Education Week. It provides a good overview of what’s going on in California, as well as describing which other states are considering implementing similar laws.

Schwarzenegger’s misleading account of ‘parent trigger’ is the title of a Valerie Strauss piece in The Washington Post. The comments are pretty interesting, too.

“Parent Trigger Divides Families” Says L.A. Times describes the second disastrous attempt to use the trigger in California.

What Really Happens When Parents Pull the “Parent Trigger?” is a good article from The Center For Media and Democracy. It gives a nice overview of the trigger’s origins and its problems.

National Education Policy Center has published an important report on the parent trigger. Here’s an excerpt from their announcement:

the National Education Policy Center asked a group of researchers to describe what we currently know about the parent trigger. The result is a policy memo titled, Missing the Target? The Parent Trigger as a Strategy for Parental Engagement and School Reform, authored by professors from the University of Illinois, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and CU Boulder.

The authors raise several concerns about the parent trigger. They warn that the trigger focuses on changing school governance rather than improving students’ opportunities to learn. The evidence to date suggests that turning public schools over to charter operators or replacing school staff is not likely to lead to better student outcomes. But research has clearly established that students learn more when they have access to quality instructional materials and well-prepared teachers. The authors also caution that while the parent trigger offers a superficial appeal to democratic processes by “letting parents decide,” it ultimately thwarts continued, sustained community and parental involvement.

Is There a Need for Parent Trigger Laws? is a series of commentaries, most providing insightful perspectives, that appears in U.S. News.

The Best Posts & Articles On Parent Trigger Movie “Won’t Back Down”

“Parent Trigger: No Silver Bullet” is a new “policy brief” from the Annenberg Institute For School Reform.

Bruce D. Baker has written an exceptional post over at his blog, School Finance 101, titled Dismantling Public Accountability & Transparency in the Name of Accountability & Transparency?

The entire post is worth reading, but the third part, which focuses on the parent trigger, I think is particularly good.

He has developed a chart titled “Parent Trigger vs. Traditional District Schooling Governance” that really lays-out key issues very clearly. Here’s how he introduces it:

Parent trigger is quite possibly the most ludicrous corruption of public governance and accountability on the education reformy education policy table. Put simply, parent trigger is the most ill-conceived subversion of governance I’ve seen out there in the reformy playbook.

“Parent trigger” as a pale shadow of community involvement is a very thoughtful post by Sherman Dorn.

State Lawmakers Throttle Back on ‘Parent Trigger’ is an article at Education Week.

Here’s how it begins:

Interest in the controversial school choice option known as the parent trigger has declined sharply among state lawmakers this year…

Additional suggestions are welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Parent Leaders in Education « SheilaSpeaking

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