Maryland lawmakers considering a type of Parent Trigger legislation

Mar 2, 2013 by

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – On Wednesday, Maryland’s House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony about a “parent trigger” bill that would allow a majority of parents with children in a failing government school to impose reforms upon the school.

Maryland joins a growing line of states that are considering some version of the parent trigger law, which was successfully implemented for the first time ever by parents in a California school district earlier this year.

Supporters of Maryland’s trigger bill said giving parents more power over their children’s education only makes sense.

“ … The love motivating parents to constantly sacrifice their time and comfort for their children makes them, and no one else, the right ones to direct their children’s future,” testified Joy Pullmann of the Heartland Institute, according to MarylandReporter.com.

While Maryland schools are considered among the best in the nation, the state has “some school districts with a large number of failing schools, particularly in Baltimore City and other regions with high poverty rates,” reports MarylandReporter.com.

Members of the education establishment used their testimony to attack the idea of allowing parents a voice in how their children’s schools are run.

A representative of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education “argued that parents do not have the training necessary to guide struggling school districts” and that “petitions from 51 percent of parents should not override the professional judgments of educators,” reports the news site.

Amy Maloney, a lobbyist for Maryland State Education Association, dismissed the parent trigger law as “more likely to cause chaos than become a constructive reform.”

Actually, Maryland’s proposed version of the parent trigger law is quite mild and unlikely to cause much “chaos.” The bill would only give parents the choice of turning a failing government school into a charter school, or closing it down completely and sending students a better-performing public school nearby.

On top of that, “the local board of education could overrule the parental recommendation,” as long as ”the board proposed an alternative reform,” reports MarylandReporter.com.

Even with those caveats, the parent trigger bill has little chance of becoming law.

Not only do union-friendly Democrats control both chambers of Maryland’s legislature, but the National Education Association named Gov. Martin O’Malley “America’s Greatest Education Governor” back in 2010. He can veto any legislation that emerges from the legislature.

In other words, this bill isn’t going anywhere without a groundswell of public support.

Still, it’s encouraging to know that education reformers are committed to playing offense even in union strongholds like Maryland.

via Maryland lawmakers considering a type of Parent Trigger legislation – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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