Another assault on public schools
BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, March 08, 2013
3/08/13 at 7:12 AM
Don't be fooled that the so-called "parent trigger" bill that passed the Oklahoma Senate 30-2 this week and is headed for the House is all about reform.
The measure is yet another among multiple assaults on public education in the past two years.
Under Senate Bill 1001, if a school scores a D or an F for at least two years on the state's A-F rating system, 51 percent of the parents could sign a petition to transition that public school into a charter school, explains its author, Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.
Administrators in school districts with at least 5,000 students in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties could be fired under the measure.
Holt's bill assumes a set of facts not in evidence - that charter schools, each an academic kingdom unto its own, always are superior to any public schools. "They are not," points out Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Sayre. "They are statistically right in line with public schools."
In recent years the state Department of Education and the Legislature have enacted various "reforms" aimed at improving low-performing public schools. There's even been a threat that the education department might take over habitually low-performing urban schools.
Lawmakers and Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi push reforms but they don't wait to see if changes will turn things around in schools whose students face challenges of poverty and crime.
Maybe tomorrow we'll hear yet another recommendation. Why not enroll students in low-performing schools in all those virtual online schools that Barresi finds so attractive? That might be a solution for some students but certainly not for all. The same can be said for converting challenged public schools into charter schools. Change isn't always the best course of action.
Original Print Headline: 'Parent trigger'