Florida’s Parent Trigger Bill Is Headed Back Our Way!

Last year Florida’s “Parent Trigger Bill” failed – but watch out because it is coming back “undercover” with a brand new name – “Parent Empowerment Act.”  Sounds really really great, however the problem is three fold:

  • Most parents do not have a real opportunity to read a bill, act or amendment and if they do, it is written so they will not understand it anyway
  • No legislator is going to take the time to actually make sure the voters understand what the legislation is, how it will be used and what it will cost
  • Legislators across the country have learned if you use these “touchy-feely” words, most voters will buy into it and think it is for the good of their family

Recently Florida state Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) asked this alarming question, “If we’ve got a bill called the parent empowerment bill, then why is the PTA against the bill?”.  The answer to that is simply Florida parents didn’t see it as a parent empowerment bill, but instead they thought the bill, known as the “Parent Trigger Bill,” would lead to the takeover of public schools by for-profit charter management companies and other corporate interests.  They were right!

People across the country need to understand that Charter Schools and all the bills the legislators are trying to pass, especially in Florida, are nothing more than “for profit” “public-private partnershisp” intending to make big bucks through the large consortium’s – for the most part.  Let me be clear, there are many Charter schools across the country which are being run by well meaning individuals who are NOT in it for the money nor are they involved in this game – their goal is to see the children receive good educations and they are. But Charter School consortium’s are a business, big business and the scandals linked to Charter Schools around the country continue to grow.

Not a single major Florida parent organization supported the bill, including the PTA, which is what Senator Detert was referring to during the hotly contested debate on the legislation before the 20 to 20 vote effectively killed it.  Detert has supported many Republican school reforms opposed by Democrats in Florida, but this act went way   too far for even  her.  She stated, “The charter people will walk right in and take over our buildings … and I don’t know how you’re going to explain that to our taxpayers.

Who has been behind this legislation?  My “friend and it seems everyone in the legislature” with the lead of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, for one. Both of his foundations, Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Florida Future’s Foundation lobbied strongly for it and even flew in advocates from outside Florida to testify on its behalf when there were wasn’t a groundswell inside the Sunshine State.

Along with the Florida PTA opposing the legislation in Florida were members in other groups including the League of Women Voters, Parents Across America, Save Duval Schools, 50thNoMore and Testing is Not Teaching and hundreds of concerned parents – not to mention several Tea Party Watch Dog groups.

Parent trigger legislation is intended to give parents with children at low-performing schools (based on standardized test scores) the legal right to petition the state or district for a change in school structure, with the parents getting to pick from a list of options. Those options include turning the school over to a private management company still using tax payer funds to run the schools.  The length and breath that this goes is astounding and I will talk about that in another blog!

Proponents say it simply gives parents more options and power in their children’s education. Opponents say that it will lead to more privately run schools and contentious battles in school communities.

The extent of this evil treachery showed it’s ugly face as the legislator’s were debating and voting the bill by proponents, who had been dropped off in vans, wearing yellow T-shirts with “Parent Power” embossed on them, handing out fliers calling Florida parent groups “union affiliates” and defenders of the status quo.  These are  strong  insults often hurled at those who oppose the “school choice” movement and standardized test-based accountability.

One thing Floridians must understand is our legislators received massive donations from foundations such Jeb Bush’s foundations, Bill Gates, Walton Foundation, Michelle Rhee’s Student’s First, Charter Schools USA, Fl Charter Alliance, Apollo Group, Red Apple Development, Meredian Education and on and on and on with a supposed agreement to vote “YES” on the Parent Empowerment Act.

Florida is just one of about 20 states that are considering similar “parent trigger” laws; a few have already passed them.  In almost every case the legislation was organized not by local parents but by a pro-charter school national organization called Parent Revolution, a LosAngeles based organization funded in part by the Walton Family Foundation, and it bitterly divided the community.  Parent Revolution helped Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future push the bill through the Florida Legislature.

Linda Serrato, a spokeswoman for Parent Revolution in an Associated Press interview said,  the legislation would help parents, not hurt school communities. She said her organization is not all about pushing charter schools, and if that really was its aim, it would be easier in Florida to simply open charters through the state’s charter laws.  But  legislators disagreed. “It has everything to do with laying the groundwork for the hostile, corporate takeover of public schools,” Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich of Weston was quoted as saying in the AP story. “Parents will divide against parents and even children will divide against children.”

After all my research into those involved in the Charter School takeover of Education in America, you can be sure they already have their ducks in a row and are armed for war.  The legislation being passed in Florida under the direction of Jeb Bush not our legislator’s has in no way any interest in our children’s education or they would not be taking this “for-profit” road to accomplish this. If money was the answer, why not use all the money they are pouring out for this evil agenda, and divide it among all the public schools in America to fix whatever they say is wrong.

But you see they are not addressing the wrongs in education like curriculum, lousy textbooks, teaching to tests, blaming all the teachers for every problem within the schools. Maybe if they even thought of dumping NCLB/RTTT, stop the implementation of the Common Core Standards and let the children have well rounded educations that are not sized to “one size fits all”, we would have better grades, less drop-out and actually happier children.

But that is not the goal is it Jeb?  Why not be a man and step up and tell the American people what the bottom line goal of Charter Schools is?  Parents, watch for them to start attacking Home Schooling!

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