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Links of the Day:

– Expect to hear talk of a “parent trigger law” soon. The measure would allow a majority of parents to take over a failing school and force changes. Buffalo parents have been fighting for one and have the support of some state lawmakers. Parent groups there are now working with parent groups in Rochester to get the law passed.

California has a trigger law. The Washington Post reported on how it’s working:

The idea behind the 2010 California law — placing ultimate power in parents’ hands — resonates with any parent who has felt frustrated by school bureaucracy.


Others see the trigger law as dangerous, handing the complex challenge of education to people who may be unprepared to meet it. Critics also say the law circumvents elected school boards and invites abuse by charter operators bent on taking over public schools.


The federal No Child Left Behind law requires failing schools to gradually face escalating penalties, including closure. Trigger laws put that process on steroids and let parents decide the schools’ fate.

– Parents, brush your kid’s teeth! A disturbing report in the New York Times says dentists are seeing an explosion of children with severe tooth decay. The problem is blamed on parents who don’t brush their children’s teeth, feed them sugary drinks and snacks before bedtime and give them bottled water, instead of tap water with flouride.

– Ex-presidents of the United States tend to make a lot of money writing books and giving speeches. But taxpayers are still giving them a lot of cash for support staff and other stuff.

– Rust Belt cities need to stop rebranding and embrace their grittiness.

12 Responses to Parents Pulling the Trigger

  1. Surprised no one’s gotten to this yet. Parents taking over the school:

  2. Why can’t our society understand that as long as schools are isolated by poverty, there will never be definitive standards at the same level as the suburbs? Changing staff, school design, and all the other gimmicks just doesn’t work .. witness the fiasco with redesigns in Rochester.

    A new and bold paradigm is needed, starting at birth.

  3. March 6, 2012 at 10:30 am Rosemary Rivera responds:

    Parent Trigger is a trojan horse! It gives parents initial power, but not sustainable power.

    • March 6, 2012 at 11:31 am Tim Kampas responds:

      Its better than nothing in my opinion.

      It’s called the “education system” for a reason. You insert a unit into the system and the output should be a high school graduate. What parents have realized is there is not one formula for each child/community….Parents want to make schools better, the status quo does not.

  4. A couple things, Tim:
    1. “Want” is not enough. You have to actually know how to make schools better. We all “want” them to be better, but what makes you think that any random parent – many of whose skills as parents are, frankly, questionable – will make anything better.

    2. Our current situation is not “nothing,” so while the California situation may indeed be “better than nothing,” this is a far cry from what our current situation objectively is.

    3. You put a child through school, not “a unit.” That child is not output, nor can you expect a one-to-one ratio of children to graduates. That would be nice, but honestly: if everybody passes, everybody fails.

  5. March 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm Ruth Russell responds:

    My experience from going to and sending my children to Catholic schools is that sometimes putting parents in charge can be a bad thing. They don’t all know what they’re talking about. And it’s really sad when one loud-mouthed no-nothing convinces the other parents that the school should do something stupid – or not do something smart.

  6. March 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm Tim Kampas responds:


    To paraphrase: “The so-called “parent trigger” law would give parents at a failing school the power to force the district to implement one of the federal turnaround models.”

    The schools these people children go to are failing. They are being left behind in life. The parents are hopeless. This allows them to pick a new way of doing things. And they get to choose from federal turnaround models. They are not making things up as they go along. And on top of that they need a majority of people.

    People are good! Lets help them.

  7. Guess its my day to link to videos:

  8. March 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm Lynn E responds:

    Studies around the country is have shown that corporations or powerful political forces are usually financing and pushing the Parent Trigger. Parents don’t usually know what they are doing and are being manipulated to do it by others.

  9. March 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm Tim Kampas responds:

    Summary of how people feel about this:

    “Tough luck poor people with failing schools. It’s in your best interest to fail because the alternative is worse. Your not smart enough to choose whats best for your children. And sorry poor children who attend failing schools. That’s best we can do. It’s really your parents fault. They are probably being manipulated by rich people who are trying to get them and they don’t even know it.”

    That’s not the world I want to live in. Good luck with that.

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