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Sen. wants “parent trigger” law for Okla. schools

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Parents in control of their child’s school. An Oklahoma State Senator is proposing a so-called “Parent Trigger” law.

It’s based on a movie set for release this Friday.

Sen. David Holt said the movie “Wont’ Back Down” left him charged up to change education in Oklahoma.

“You leave that theater charged up, inspired and armed with the tools to make change," he said.

The movie is the story of the Parent Trigger Law in California and shows parents of struggling students fighting to get the signatures necessary to improve their failing schools.

"If the parents, the majority of parents want to see their school change and it's been a failing school for years, they ought to have that ability," Holt said.

With parent trigger legislation, if 51 percent of parents whose children attend low-performing schools sign a petition, they can demand the district transform the school by putting in new leadership or staff or by transitioning it into a charter school.

But Clifton Ogle, President of The American Federation of Teachers Union, said the union has problems with the law.

He welcomes parental involvement but said "parent trigger" often leads to only a few parents making decisions that cost some good teachers their jobs.

“That unfairly hurts teachers," Ogle said. “It unfairly hurts the kids. We want the kids to have the best education possible."

The teachers' union state president said parents are partly responsible for their kids' grades as well.

The state department of education supports the parent trigger law.

They said it would complement existing reforms, such as the A-through-F grading system, which gives parents a better idea of how a school is performing.

Holt plans to introduce the legislation next year.

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