Parents Changing Their Children’s Future
EDLF professor Vance Randall presents in education reform
For parents, the quality of a child’s education is a serious concern. Vance Randall, a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations (EDLF) in the McKay School of Education, has focused much of his work in the area of parental concerns about quality education for all children. His research on educational reform and policy has led him to study a new reform initiative called “parent triggers.”
In 2010, California passed the first parent trigger law in the U.S. “Parent trigger” or Parent Empowerment legislation provides parents with a legal avenue and authority to directly intervene in a failing school. Parents are able to require that timely and effective changes be made. Some of these changes include changing teachers and administrators, turning a public school into a charter school or shutting down the school entirely. The law has spread to other states in the country, including a proposal in Utah, allowing parents to have more direct control of their child’s school setting if the school is failing.
Although the California law was enacted in 2010, parents have not yet been able to implement change in their children’s schools because a greater than 50 percent majority is required, and a petition must be signed by all parents who consent to the change. Presently, no group of parents has been successful in collecting enough valid signatures.
Earlier this year, Randall presented on both sides of the parent triggers argument. “As the standards and qualifications for schools have increased, it’s become even more important to pay attention to the type of education our children are getting,” Randall explained. “This law was designed for parents who are tired of trying to improve the quality of education at the school where their children attend and are at their wit’s end. They’ve exhausted all their other options.”
Though Randall has found that parent triggers may be an innovative step in education, he also has some reservations about what this law might do to education in America. “With the ability to change a school entirely, whether it be to a charter, private, or public school, parent triggers are not guarantee that the quality of education will be increased,” Randall sad. “However…parent triggers, can empower parents to make a dramatic change in an attempt to improve their child’s education.”
June 12, 2012