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Budget Bill Would Bring "Parent Trigger" Law To All Ohio Schools

Parents of students at low-performing schools could gain the power to make big changes themselves under a proposed law tucked away in Gov. John Kasich’s 4,000-page state budget bill. It’s called a parent trigger law. A parent trigger law is already in place in the Columbus school district on a pilot basis. If a school is consistently at the bottom of the performance scale, parents of children at that school could petition the school district to do something drastic. They can ask the district to turn the school into a charter school. They can ask the district to replace nearly all of the staff. Or they can ask the district to make other major changes to the school. If at least half of parents sign on, the school district has to make the changes. Kasich education advisor Dick Ross says it’s time for the law to be expanded to all schools in Ohio. “Our parents have high expectations for their children. They should have more say and control over schools that are not being successful as they desire to improve the education of their boys and girls,â€? he says. But some school leaders don’t think expanding this parent trigger concept beyond Columbus is a good idea. Adrian Allison is superintendent of the Canton City schools. “There is no evidence whatever that this type of policy initiative is effective, is good for students,â€? he says. A handful of states already have parent trigger laws. So far, the trigger’s been pulled in only one state: California. Ohio lawmakers will consider the proposal in the coming weeks before acting on the full state budget this spring.