School reform legislation which would shorten the number of years a poorly-performing public school could continue without parental intervention is advancing in the Texas Senate. This “parent trigger” bill is not without controversy; there are concerns that the shorter time a school would be given to correct itself isn’t enough time for corrective measures to kick in.
The concern is fair, but I don’t think in real-world situations it would usually work that way. Under both current law and the proposed legislation, the clock doesn’t start ticking until after a school is at the “unacceptable” stage. If, under the proposed shorter timeline, school district administrators know in advance that they only have a couple more years to improve once they sink to the bottom, I think fewer schools will get to the bottom in the first place; they’ll begin corrective measures earlier in a school’s downhill slide. If the motivation for schools to improve begins earlier in a school’s eroding performance, that’s good news for the students.
Here’s what I said about it when asked on last night’s edition of YNN’s Capital Tonight:
You can watch Capital Tonight live on YNN in Austin from 7-7:30 pm Monday – Friday, you can watch last night’s entire episode online here, and you can join in the discussion on this legislation right now, by leaving a comment with your thoughts!