An unprecedented effort to privatize Texas public schools is underway this legislative session, led by the so-called Texans for Education Reform and promoted by out-of-state billionaires’ foundations, the Texas-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation and organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which pushes cookie-cutter legislation from state to state designed to benefit its corporate funders.
One of these privatization efforts, the so-called “parent trigger” legislation, claims to provide parental empowerment but, in fact, is designed to pave the way for private charter operators or private alternative managers to take over neighborhood schools.
Under legislation proposed in both the Texas House and Senate this session, private operators with no connection to the community would be able to hire a political consultant to collect parents’ signatures on a “petition to improve your school.” But the real agenda would be to hand over control of the school to a charter operator. The beginning and end of parental empowerment under this parent trigger concept is the parent’s signature on a petition for charter takeover. After that, the charter entity gains total control of the school. The locally elected school board and, by extension, the citizens, parents and taxpayers who elected the school board and paid to build the school cease to have a say in how the school is run. Read More