“Parent trigger” laws allow parents to vote to change the governance of their school. It’s been tried – and fought, litigated, and debated – in California and is being considered elsewhere and on the books in a few states. Parent trigger an intuitively appealing concept and overall empowering poor parents is a great idea, but I’ve written some about my skepticism about parent trigger legislation as a broad-based or sustainable reform (for instance here) because it’s so hard to do it in a way that’s effective for kids. In other words, it’s hard to be against it but easy to be worried about it.
But, when I was writing a column about trigger laws some of the proponents made the case that just giving parents the authority to do it could change politics in a lot of districts — where despite all the talk about parental engagement school system leaders/stakeholders really want parents to sit in the corner and do as they’re told. They argued that my concern about what happens when lots of schools try to do this at once wasn’t such a problem because once the idea got rolling parents would have more leverage short of pulling the trigger (sorry). That does seem to be what’s starting to happen some with the parent trigger effort in Los Angeles and it’s worth watching to see how it plays out.