School Gains Seen With ‘Parent Trigger’ Options

Published January 7, 2011

“Education faces ups, downs in 2010” (news feature, Dec. 26) identified many of the troubles that have befallen Oklahoma schools in the past year. But there is hope for the Sooner State. The “parent trigger,” as introduced recently in New Jersey, would allow a simple majority of parents in a school to petition for one of three reforms:

  • Bringing in new school leadership.
  • Converting to a charter school
  • Offering all students a voucher so they may use the money that would have been spent on public school at a different institution.

By incorporating proven reforms, the parent trigger promises to raise achievement. By using charter schools and a 75 percent per-pupil spending voucher, the trigger also is budget-friendly and could save taxpayers money with each “triggered” school. And by empowering parents, it holds educators and school systems directly accountable for their performance.

Marc Oestreich, Chicago, Ill.

Oestreich is an education policy specialist at The Heartland Institute.