Is the Parent Trigger Bill Dead?

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By: Whitney Ray

Two days ago state senators thought they killed the parent trigger bill with a tie vote.

Those who proclaimed the parent trigger bill dead, may have jumped the gun.

Two sessions, two votes, and two defeats.

In back to back years the Florida Senate delivered the death blow to the parent trigger bill. The latest came Tuesday.

"This bill is not needed," Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, said. "We have options for parents now."

Now a portion of the parent trigger bill is back, tacked on to charter school legislation in the Florida House.

"Is this an incentive for our school districts to put the most highly effective teachers in to those failing schools? Absolutely," Rep. Michael Bileca, R-Miami, said. "

House Democrats railed against the amendment.

"When this whole parent trigger bill first came about, we always said that there was something wrong with the evaluation," Rep Betty Reed, D-Tampa, FL, said.

The amendment would allow parents to receive a notice when their child has a teacher with an ineffective rating for two straight years. They could then remove their child from the teacher's class.

"There seems to be a great focus on the teachers and less on the students," Rep Janet Adkins, R-Duval, FL, said. "Members I think we need to be focused on the students."

A coalition of teachers in the House say the evaluation system is flawed, making the amendment dangerous.

"We can't go ahead and say let's figure out the bad teachers and not allow students in with them until we figure out for sure who the bad teachers are," Rep. Mark Danish, D- Pinellas County, said.

The bill has to be passed by the full House and then by the Senate. Lawmakers have about one day to get it done.

By: Whitney Ray

Legislation to allow parents to turn their child’s failing school over to a charter school company was defeated in dramatic fashion today. The parent trigger bill died on a tie vote in the senate.

Deja vu in the Florida Senate. A bill to giving parents another option to fix their child’s failing school has sparked debate in Tallahassee for two years running.

There was debate on the senate floor on the last day of the 2012 session. The parent trigger bill was on final passage. The debate intensified. After more than an hour of debate senators voted. Parent trigger died on a tie vote.

A new version of the parent trigger was back this year for round two. The stage was set once again for a showdown in the senate.”

The bill was amended in an attempt to gain more votes.

“The turnaround option selected by the district school board shall be final and conclusive. There is the answer members,” Explained Sen. David Simmons.

A coalition of Democrats and Republicans still railed against it.

“Not one parent every called me to support this bill,” exclaimed Senator Nancy Detert.

“This bill is not needed. We have options for parents now,” said Senate Democrat Geraldine Thompson.

The senate voted. And once again, a tie brought down the parent trigger.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Senate is ready to cast a vote on a hotly contested bill to give parents a vote on turnaround options for failing public schools.

Senators on Monday discussed the "parent trigger" bill (SB 862). The House already has passed its version of the bill.

The Senate changed the bill to make local school boards the final decision makers on turnaround options. Critics say that provision undermines the intention of giving parents a seat at the table.

Most opponents have been concerned about the possibility of public schools being turned over to for-profit educational management companies. That's one of several options parents can vote for.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida House has passed a bill that gives parents a vote in turnaround options for failing public schools.

The "parent trigger" bill (HB 867) was passed by a 68-51 vote on Thursday.

The proposed law would give parents a say on how to deal with a failing school. The voting would be done through a petition drive.

The bill is supported by many --but not all-- Republicans. Democrats criticized it as a backdoor measure to let for-profit companies take over public schools. Parent groups and teachers' unions also oppose it.

A companion bill (SB 862) is also moving in the Senate.

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