Lawmakers want “parent trigger” law for schools

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Two Oklahoma lawmakers want parents to have the power to force dramatic change in their students’ under-performing schools. 

Senator David Holt (R – Oklahoma City) and Senator Jabar Shumate (D – Tulsa) authored Senate Bill 1001. 

The bill would create a process where if a majority of parents in an under-performing school sign a petition, they may transition the school to a charter school, or they may ask for the administrators of the school to be terminated. 

The bill states an “under-performing” school has received a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ for at least the last two years under Oklahoma’s new grading system, or a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ for two of the last three years, as long as the most recent grade was a ‘D’ or an ‘F’.  

If parents choose to make it a charter school, the school will first serve all students in previous attendance boundaries of the school. 

“I think everyone involved in education wants the best for our kids, but sometimes schools under-perform  and sometimes we all get stuck in a pattern we can’t seem to break,” Holt said.

The power given to parents in the Parent Empowerment Act is often referred to as a “parent trigger” and versions of it have been enacted in several other states, most notably California, where the first “parent trigger” school is now beginning its transition to a charter school.   

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