Opinion: Triggering the End of Public Education

Friday, March 9, 2012

 The Florida Legislature has finally figured out how to destroy public education — under the guise of "school choice." After all, everybody likes choice, unless it involves abortion, contraception or gay marriage.

The so-called "parent trigger" bill is the crowning blow to a decade-long effort to take "public" out of education and unload struggling schools, especially those that serve poor, black, Hispanic and special-needs students.

The proposed legislation supposedly gives parents more ability to direct what happens at their failing schools.

But the options are limited to transferring their child out of the school, hiring a private corporation to run the school or closing the school and reopening it as a charter school. Nowhere is there an option to force school districts to reallocate funds to recruit better teachers or use innovative strategies.

Parent trigger laws are relatively new. California was the first to adopt one in 2010. Mississippi, Texas and Connecticut have since passed similar laws.

Now Florida legislators are following suit. After all, everybody wants to be like Mississippi, right?

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