Colo.'s Parent Trigger II Survives First Test: Maybe HB 1149 Can Win Bipartisan Support
My Education Policy Center friends asked me to stop playing around in the snow long enough to give a quick update and comment on something I mentioned last week. As Ed News Colorado reports, Rep. Don Beezley’s “Parent Trigger II” successfully passed its first obstacle with a favorable 7-6 party line vote in the House Education Committee yesterday.
In other words, the proposal that represents a small, positive step for parental empowerment stepped out from beneath the groundhog’s shadow. And not a moment too soon, for such a commonsense piece of legislation.
Yes, it’s sad to see only Republican representatives showing a modest support for the education consumer. Is it just Colorado where Democrats seem so universally wed to protecting K-12 institutions of power (the Colorado Association of School Boards and Colorado Education Association both testified against HB 1149) at the expense of a little extra parent voice in the school turnaround process?
Interestingly, California Democrat Gloria Romero today expounded on her support of a more comprehensive parent trigger bill coming out Florida:
This is not a Democratic or a Republican fight. It’s a fight for parents, by parents. This is also a civil rights issue that is personal to me. My mother had a sixth grade education; I have a Ph.D. I know what education means for ending poverty, and I know how hard we are making it for millions of children to get the quality education they need and deserve.
If you are poor, African-American, Latino or a member of any other underserved constituency, too often your success in school is tied to your zip code and to government officials who make life-altering decisions for you. Those with financial means move to a different school, but those who stay need a way to make the schools work for their children.
Or as Colorado’s Rep. Beezley was quoted in the Ed News story:
Help me offer a little bit of hope … to parents with children in some of our lowest performing schools…
The far-from-conservative Metro Organizations for People came out in support of HB 1149, noting that the existing five-year turnaround process is “far too long.” If they were in California or Florida, they may have found support from the Democratic caucus so far. There’s still time for the Colorado legislature to debate and vote on this bill in a bipartisan (or better yet, nonpartisan) fashion. I hold out hope that it can be the case.