"Parent Trigger" Debate Triggered as Won't Back Down Movie Opens in Colorado

I’m getting too excited to wait much longer. Tonight is the special Colorado screening of Won’t Back Down, the new feature movie about empowering parents to improve failing schools. Put simply, it brings the “Parent Trigger” reform concept to the big screen.

So as you look forward to catching the movie, either tonight or when it premieres this weekend for general audiences, you might appreciate some thoughts from a couple of prominent education reform voices to chew on first. It started yesterday with New Schools for New Orleans’ Neerav Kingsland, who argues that “maybe we shouldn’t support Parent Trigger laws at all” and “the best parent trigger is parent choice between non-governmental school operators.”

Kingsland’s piece provoked a sharp and thoughtful response from the prolific writer RiShawn Biddle of Dropout Nation. He says the attempt to dismiss the Parent Trigger movement underestimates the parents’ role as “lead decision-makers in education for the children they love.”

Biddle also says that the dismissive view of the Parent Trigger presented by Kingsland also takes too narrow a view of school choice:

But school choice isn’t just about families moving their kids out of failure mills and dropout factories. It is also about the ability to choose the very structure of education for the kids they love, and the ability to push for reforms directly in their communities. And why not start with the school in their own backyard?

Hear, hear. I heartily agree with that point. When it comes to school choice and parent empowerment, I’m an all-of-the-above kind of kid. That’s why I’m such a big cheerleader for the fantastic School Choice for Kids website. Open enrollment? Charters? Innovation schools? Virtual learning? Vouchers? Tax credits? Homeschooling? Even the Parent Trigger?

Yes, yes, yes and yes again.