When the issue of the “parent trigger” first arose, my first question was why the parents of a school should be given the power to “seize control” and give the school to a private corporation? Should the tenants of a public housing project have the same power to privatize their building? How about the patrons of a public library? The riders on a public bus?
I wrote nearly a year ago:
“To me, a public school is a public trust. It doesn’t belong to the students who are currently enrolled in it or their parents or to the teachers who currently teach in it. All of them are part of the school community, and that community needs to collaborate to make the school better for everyone. Together, they should be able to redesign or create or discontinue programs and services. But collaboration is not the same as ownership. The school belongs to the public, to the commonwealth. It belongs to everyone who ever attended it (and their parents) and to future generations. It is part of the public patrimony, not an asset that can be closed or privatized by its current constituents.”
Who “owns” a public facility?
My assumption is that the public owns it, not the consumers or patrons or the users at a given time. The public paid for it, built it, and owns it.
But how can anyone change it for the better?
This article suggests a far better use of a parent trigger: “…how about passing a law that a group of parents can sign a petition that forces the state to allocate the appropriate level of funding to fix a building, supply nurses and librarians, books, provide special education and ELL services, give teachers classroom assistants and teacher leaders to do high quality professional development and to provide schools with teacher leaders to do high quality professional development and planning with teachers to implement best practices.”