Opinion: Education Bill Gives Parents Political Power

Marion Herbert's picture
Friday, March 9, 2012

The Florida Senate will have an opportunity to vote on Senate Bill 1718, the Parent Empowerment Act.

The recent reaction to giving moms and dads a greater voice and more meaningful role in an existing process confirms that many of us are far too comfortable with the status quo. I support this bill for three reasons.

One, it gives parents political power. The Parent Empowerment Act provides parents a platform to engage in discussions on how to improve their child's failing school and, most importantly, to provide leverage for these moms and dads to achieve real change. Currently, countless Florida parents are limited to sending their children to persistently failing public schools year after year. Moms and dads want to provide their child with a solid, quality education, one that will launch their son or daughter to achieve their dreams. The more involved a parent is in their child's education, the greater chance that child has to succeed. So why would we deny concerned moms and dads the right to engage in transforming a failing school?

Two, parental power actually works. In California, where the "parent trigger" was born, parents have used this law to successfully negotiate as equals with the school district and demand the programs and access to technology they see in schools with different ZIP codes. They seek real changes from their schools that will ensure a high quality education for their child; only once have they petitioned for a charter school.

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