Parent Trigger: ‘Won’t Back Down’

24 Sep

Moi has posted quite a bit about the “parent trigger.” This latest post deals with the movie. “Won’t Back Down.” Kelsey Sheehy writes in the U.S. News article, Pulling the ‘Parent Trigger’ on School Reform about the effect the “parent trigger” had on the school portrayed in the movie “Won’t Back Down.”

Trigger laws, which allow parents to intervene if their child’s school underperforms, are on the books in seven states—California, ConnecticutIndianaLouisianaMississippiOhio, and Texas—with as many as 20 states considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While the laws vary by state, most include following provisions:

The school must be identified by the state as low-performing, often for consecutive years.

There must be a majority buy-in by parents of students either attending the school, or with students in lower grade levels who would likely attend the school in the future. This is typically in the form of a petition.

A handful of intervention options are typically available, including charter school conversion, forcing the school to replace the administrators and majority of teachers, or shutting the school down completely.

Proponents of trigger laws say they empower parents to step in when schools are failing their students, and give educators added incentive to take steps to improve schools that consistently fall short.

“[It] gives families leverage where they do not otherwise have it by increasing pressure on districts and others in charge of failing schools,” Dave Robertson, a state senator in Michigan said in a hearing last week on a proposed parent trigger bill, according to Michigan Live.

[Discover why students learn better with engaged parents.]

But critics argue that while the idea sounds good in theory, parent trigger laws lack transparency and risk doing more harm than good.

Stand for Children Washington hosted a screening of “Won’t Back Down” and moi received a complementary ticket to the screening.

Moi’s mantra for this blog is there is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is what works to produce education achievement in a given population of children. Having said that, there is no middle ground in the movie portrayals. The baddies are very bad and the the “good people” almost have halos. In moi’s opinion, a little more subtlety and shading of the motivation of the characters would have made the movie more effective. The script was just so-so. Still, the movie tugs at the heartstrings of those who feel that there is something drastically wrong with education. Overall, moi like the movie, because she believes that parents must have the option to be part of the solution in turning around failing schools.


New movie ‘Won’t Back Down’ makes the case for education reform

Won’t Back Down’ rankles teachers unions but may resonate in trenches                                                  


More states considering ‘Parent Trigger’ laws                 

National Education Policy Center researches the ‘parent trigger’                                                                 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©


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