How Much Parent Power is Too Much?

Should parents who are unhappy with their local school have the power to replace the entire staff, turn it into a charter school, or shut it down completely – even if just 51% of the school’s families agree?

It’s an enticing, polarizing proposal – the so-called “parent trigger.” It’s also now a law in four states, and the subject of debate in scores of others. But is it a good idea? In the end, will parent-trigger laws help parents more effectively ensure a high-quality public education for their children, or will they result in a reckless short-circuiting of the democratic process itself?

The answer, of course, is “it depends,” and what it depends on is the way parents and communities go about evaluating the quality of their neighborhood schools – and, when necessary, deciding on the most constructive path forward.

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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Learning, Organizational Change

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  1. Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Sam, I like this idea, but also the “art of hosting” conversations I first saw described in Walk Out, Walk On. How do we help one another come together and share our hopes for our kids? How do we take little steps together to act on those hopes before we bound off in a million directions at once?

    We wouldn’t need a trigger if we did a better job of creating community-based schools. Insomuch as any process helps us remake schools as places of inquiry, compassion, and participatory, civic community, I’m for it.


  2. dror
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    parents should be allowed to protect their child from abuse by teachers and school mates
    The Federal government should produce centralized curriculum and abolished 600.000 school boards

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