Policy Documents

The Leaflet - The Parent Trigger Two Years Later

December 15, 2011

In August of 2010 The Heartland Institute began getting involved in a revolutionary education reform issue known as the Parent Trigger. Heartland published the first policy report on the Parent Trigger idea and helped promote the idea across the country. The idea, which first passed into law by the California Legislature in January 2010, was simple–give parents the power to transform their failing school by signing a petition.

The Heartland Institute has produced seminal research on the Parent Trigger, effectively marketed it to the media and allies, and introduced it to elected officials in all 50 states. In 2011 at least 15 states introduced parent trigger legislation with some form of the concept passing in Indiana, Ohio, and Texas.

In early 2012, Heartland will be introducing its third policy study on the issue, this one looking at model legislation. If you would like to know more about why the Parent Trigger is one of the best ways to empower parents, localize control, and expand access to quality education for everyone please contact me at jnothdurft@heartland.org or 312/377-4000.

Respectfully,

John Nothdurft
Director - Government Relations

 

 Lead Story

Research & Commentary: The Parent Trigger, One Year Later
Education

The Parent Trigger allows parents at a school deemed failing, often by No Child Left Behind standards, to petition that one of several turnaround measures take place. If a majority of parents sign the petitions, the school district must take action. Turnaround measures vary by state, but they typically include options also specified under NCLB, such as school closure, converting to a charter school, or replacing a significant portion of school staff.

Critics argue the law places too much power in the hands of inexpert parents and could cause great disruption. They say school changes should be made by experts in consultation with teachers and administrators.

Trigger proponents argue schools eligible for the option have been mismanaged for years by the experts Trigger critics trust, and their persistently poor records demand significant and quick action to prevent more students from remaining trapped in the failing system. They also note parents are the only individuals with only their child’s interests at heart, which makes them the most appropriate and ardent child advocates.

Giving parents power over their child’s education, Trigger advocates argue, helps balance the skewed playing field that currently favors special interests. This actually helps prevent parents from having to pull the Trigger because, with it as an option, they have the power to negotiate less-drastic changes.

You can read more about the Parent Trigger at www.theparenttrigger.com

 

What We're Working On

Podcast: States Moving Away From Income Taxes
Budget & Tax

In Heartland’s weekly Budget & Tax News podcast, Managing Editor Steve Stanek interviews John Nothdurft about state income taxes. Nine states have never had an income tax. Now serious moves are afoot in several other states with income taxes to reduce and eventually eliminate them.

 

With False Vaccine Decision Process, the CDC Rots From Within
Health Care

In this article, health care legislative specialist Kendall Antekeier reports on suspicious conduct from the Centers for Disease Control and how it may stifle the availability of a life-saving immunization.

 

Research & Commentary: Medical Fee Schedules for Michigan Auto Insurance
Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate

Auto insurance will be one of the key issues Michigan legislators face in the upcoming legislative session. Michigan’s unique auto insurance system provides uncapped coverage for injuries caused by auto accidents, resulting in the nation’s highest auto insurance premiums.

In an effort to bring Michigan auto insurance premiums closer to the national average, the legislature is now considering House Bill 4936, which would implement a fee schedule on auto insurance medical coverage similar to the one currently being used in Michigan’s workers’ compensation insurance system. Fee schedules place a ceiling on the reimbursements health care providers receive for certain treatments.

In this Research & Commentary, Legislative Specialist Matthew Glans discusses fee schedules, how they are applied, and how they have worked for similar programs in other states.

 

Heartland Institute Reacts to NTSB’s Call for Ban on Use of Cell Phones While Driving
Telecom

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday recommended all states ban the use of cell phones while driving. The NTSB previously had recommended such bans only for novice drivers, school bus drivers, and commercial truckers.

 

Research & Commentary: Safe Chemicals Act of 2011
Environment

Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act is imperative to maintain consumer safety and to free industry from unnecessarily onerous regulations. Reforms should prioritize chemicals in a transparent manner, protect proprietary information, and lessen the need for states to regulate chemicals and complicate the regulatory environment even further.

 

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Policy Newspaper

Health Care

The December issue of Health Care News reports on the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to shelve the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, the long-term care program that was a key provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

 

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