This Saturday, in a silent but drastic move, The U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Orlando unanimously endorsed “parent trigger” laws meant to turn over the worst public schools to groups of parents. The laws would provide the parents with children in poor-performing to band together, bypass elected school boards, and push immediate change to take place. Parents who have children in those schools have the greatest stake, it’s only fair that they should have the greatest control, they say.
Hundreds of mayors from across the nation endorsed the call for laws that would allow the parents to seize control of poor-performing public schools, fire the teachers, throw out the administrators or decide to turn over the schools to private management.
Teachers’ unions are also banding together to prevent such laws from coming into existence. Union leaders insist that there is no proof that such steps would improve learning in any manner. It has never been done, so it can’t be done. However, the union leaders are right in one thing – public investment in struggling communities, they say, is better than private management for struggling schools. But, the Democrats left the teachers unions in the lurch and sided with “parent trigger” laws.
Both Democrats and Republicans from coast to coast of this nation just loved the motion led by Democrat Mayors Michael Nutter, Antonio Villaraigosa and Kevin Johnson. Mayor Villaraigosa admitted, “Mayors understand at a local level that most parents lack the tools they need to turn their schools around” but he held the laws could change the situation.
Parent-trigger laws are already there in several states including Texas, Louisiana and California. States like Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York are considering it. So far, there is no proof that such laws have helped to turn around a school. But they help to turn over public schools to private management and relieve the federal government from having to fund such schools.
However, there is also no proof that such laws would not work, since then only attempts that have been made are all tied up in court cases under heavy opposition from teachers’ unions. Mayor Villariagosa attacked the teachers’ union leaders as “unwavering roadblock to reform.”