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'Parent-trigger' bill moving ahead at Florida Capitol

6:58 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Controversial legislation known as the parent-trigger bill continues to spark debate at the state Capitol.

A House committee passed the bill Tuesday over the objections of parents who spoke against the measure. The bill allows parents to organize petition drives that would allow them to take control of failing schools.

Supporters say it's just one more tool for parents, giving them extra leverage over the operation of their children's school.

But critics say it opens the door to for-profit charter school groups to gain control of public schools.

Donald Peace of New Port Richey, a 32-year veteran teacher in Pasco County, testified the parent empowerment process has not worked anywhere in the country.

"After the initial takeover process, this is going to be put up to a for-profit organization. The parents will be kicked to the curb because the bottom line is going to be dollars and cents, not what the parents think."

Bill sponsor Rep. Carlos Trujillo says state law already includes four options to address failing schools, and the parent-trigger measure would offer another way for parents to help fix schools.

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