During the upcoming Legislative Session, the controversial “Parent Empowerment” bill, better known as the “Parent Trigger” bill will resurface and is expected to pass. During last year’s Session, the bill passed the House and died by a tie vote in the Senate. With a new group of legislators and Republican control of the House and the Senate it is expected to pass.
The Parent Empowerment in Education bill allows public property to be handed over to private entities. It is crucial that parents in affected communities clearly understand all of the ramifications of the proposed legislation --- how it will be implemented, executed and sustained.
Proponents of parent trigger bills in Florida and other states frequently explicitly state that minority parents support such bills. The reality is that some may, but two civil rights groups in Florida, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the Florida Council of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens have drafted resolutions opposing the bill.
A StateImpact Florida analysis of school demographics from 2011 found charter school students were more likely to be Hispanic than district school students and less likely to be black or Asian. The median percentage of students receiving the federal free or reduced lunch program — a common proxy for poverty — was lower in charter schools than district schools.
“While some charter schools are excellent, study after study has revealed that most are no different from the truly public, open access, traditional public schools, and some charter schools are simply awful,” said Dr. Rosa Castro Feinberg, retired professor, former school board member who works with LULAC on legislative issues.
“Our state needs adequately funded traditional public schools open to all. Our state needs elected officials who act to ensure their viability.”
Dr. Shirley Johnson, Education Committee Chair for the Florida State Conference of the NAACP reached out to other organizations, such as LULAC, thus making it impossible for anyone to claim that there is no opposition to parent trigger legislation from minority communities. This is another important issue that will be addressed. Stay tuned and be ready to contact your elected officials.