Bill would let parents "pull trigger" on failing Missouri schools
February 16, 2011
JEFFERSON CITY -- Parents unhappy with their children's public schools could demand new management, admission at other public schools or scholarships to cover private school tuition under a bill presented to a House committee this morning.
Comparing the school choice drive to the civil rights movement, the bill's sponsor, House Majority Leader Tim Jones, said the long history of failure in St. Louis Public Schools demanded consideration of "ideas that are revolutionary."
His bill, known as the parent trigger, would give dissatisfied parents three options. If 51 percent of them signed a petition, they could force:
-- The school to be turned into a charter school with new management.
-- The school to be closed and their children transferred to better public schools in the same district.
-- The public to pay for vouchers covering most of the cost of private schooling.
A similar law was passed in California last year, and parents in the Compton Unified School District became the first to use it, turning in petitions in December to turn their school over to a charter operator.
Noting that this was his first year to introduce the bill, Jones, R-Eureka, said the parent trigger concept was "as brand-new as you can get" and would need some work to be "Missourianized."
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State Rep. Tim "Tickets" Jones, R-Eureka
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