States to Watch on Parent Trigger, Vouchers

Published November 9, 2012

Most states begin legislative sessions in spring 2013, and several lawmakers have already indicated they will introduce Parent Trigger or school voucher legislation. Here’s a list.

Parent Trigger: These laws, passed in seven states, allow a majority of parents whose children attend a failing school to require a specific reform by signing a petition. A trigger bill is pending in Michigan, and Oklahoma state Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City) said he will propose one in 2013.

Vouchers: Tennessee and Pennsylvania recently attempted and failed several times to pass voucher or tax-credit scholarship (TCS) laws. Vouchers allow children to take their state per-pupil funding to any school their parents choose, while TCSs allow businesses and individuals to tax-deduct donations to scholarship-granting nonprofits. Although Pennsylvania Republicans have repeatedly dropped charter legislation and education funding reforms, Tennessee looks more likely to allow school choice. In Texas, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) has said he will prioritize school vouchers, and new Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick (R-Houston) supports school choice.

Legislators and grassroots organizations in Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have also expressed interest in introducing or expanding statewide school choice. 

Image by Scott Schrantz.