"Parent Trigger" bill gets another shot

Posted at 6:10 PM, Mar 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-08 13:58:52-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Lawmakers are now giving the "Parent Empowerment in Education" bill another look.  The bill, also known as the "Parent Trigger" bill died last year after much debate in the house and senate. But lawmakers bringing it back this year say its important to the schools.

The bill allows parents who have kids attending failing schools to ask for the school to be closed, fire teachers, or convert it into charter schools. That's possible if they get enough signatures from other parents totaling at least 51-percent.

The charter school issue is among some lawmakers biggest concerns. They say it's a way to hand over public schools to private management to make money.

But supporters say it just give parents a say so in their children's education.

"We want them to worry about taking care of public school quit trying to privitize the school system and get the money quit trying to claim that a charter corporation can do a better job they can't they haven't, they haven't been able to show it," said Jeff Wright, Florida Education Association.

"One of the best ways to do that is to give parents more opportunities to make recommendations and have an impact on how their school is turned around if their child is at a failing school we want to empower oparents with the ability to make recommendations with their school board," said Patricia Levesque, Foundation For Florida's Future.

The democrats on the committee all voted against the bill. Some lawmakers said the bill isn't transparent enough to cover businesses who may bribe parents with money and gifts into signing a petition.

The bill now moves to the Education Appropriations Subcommittee in the house.

A similar bill is also in the senate. Georgia lawmakers are moving a similar bill, its now on its way to the senate.