Parent Trigger Concept Doesn't Need Discrimination against For-Profit Operators

A few weeks ago I shared with you about a “parent trigger” debate triggered by the release of the movie Won’t Back Down. In that discussion, New Schools for New Orleans’ Neerav Kingsland argued that “the best parent trigger is parent choice between non-governmental school operators.”

Yesterday another division erupted in the “parent trigger” discussion between two supporters of the concept and the legislation. Conservative ed reform guru Rick Hess says liberal supporters lost him when they “needlessly attacked for-profit charter providers in a cheap effort to score political points.” Apparently, it’s okay to empower parents to choose to turn around their children’s failing school, but then limit their choices to operators who won’t seek to make some money along the way?

In a state next door to Kingsland’s, we learn that 35 failing schools are eligible to be converted by a parent petition through Mississippi’s new “parent trigger” law. Meanwhile, parents at California’s Desert Trails elementary are getting ready to select an operator for the school’s conversion process.

As Hess points out, Parent Revolution executive director Ben Austin would not be inclined to let those parents choose an operator who happens to be a for-profit entity. Families should have access to a full range of choices to help improve educational outcomes and brighten their futures. Just exactly how this kind of discrimination is helpful to students and parents is beyond me.