Heartland Experts React to Indiana’s New Education Agenda

December 09, 2010
Jim Lakely

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett unveiled their education agenda Wednesday at a meeting of the Education Roundtable in Indianapolis. Included in the slate of reforms is the “Parent Trigger,” which allows parents to sign a petition forcing the state to reform a failing school.

The Heartland Institute is leading the effort to educate legislators and the public nationwide about the Parent Trigger. Click here to see a round-up of Heartland’s latest efforts, and click here to read Heartland’s policy brief on the Parent Trigger.

The following comments can be used for attribution.

Bruno Behrend, director of the Center for School Reform at The Heartland Institute:

“This is a powerful, positive step toward real educational transformation. The Parent Trigger, augmented by other robust reforms, empowers parents to take control of their child’s education from the system that is failing so many.

“It allows parents to convert an expensive, centralized, bureaucracy-based school into a true neighborhood school. The Parent Trigger offers real, not illusory, local control.”

Reach Bruno Behrend for additional comments at bbehrend@heartland.org or 312/377-4000.

John Nothdurft, director of government relations for The Heartland Institute:

“It is great to see that Gov. Daniels and Superintendent Bennett are laying out such a bold plan for student-centered education reforms in Indiana. Especially encouraging is their inclusion of the Parent Trigger idea.

“Parents across the country are clamoring for the right to take back control of their children’s education and the Parent Trigger allows them to do just that. The Parent Trigger is a game-changer in the national school reform effort. The rest of the country should be watching Indiana right now.”

Reach John Nothdurft for additional comments at jnothdurft@heartland.org or 662/801-2707.

Ben Boychuk, research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News, and a resident of California:

“Indiana has an excellent opportunity to build on California’s promising Parent Trigger law. We’re just now starting to see California’s law in action, and the strengths and weaknesses of the law are coming into focus.

“School officials and teachers’ union bosses in California are terrified of the Parent Trigger and they are doing everything they can to stop parents from using it. But if a group of parents in Los Angeles – one of the worst school districts in America – can get organized and rally 62 percent of parents to fundamentally change a failing school, then certainly parents in Indiana and around the country can do the same. They just need to be given the chance.”

Reach Ben Boychuk – who is based in Southern California – for additional comments at bboychuk@heartland.org or 818/389-2931.

Marc Oestreich, legislative specialist for education policy at The Heartland Institute:

“Superintendent Bennett’s lofty education plans, especially his endorsement of a Parent Trigger, prove he is focused on making Indiana’s schools the best in the nation.

“Last week, Bennett co-created a group called Chiefs for Change with a select group of like-minded reformers. And this week he’s living up to that group’s mission of ‘putting children first through bold, visionary education reform’ by endorsing the Parent Trigger. It is a novel and flexible reform.”

Reach Marc Oestreich for additional comments moestreich@heartland.org or 219/363-9328.

The Heartland Institute is a 26-year-old national nonprofit organization based in Chicago. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.