Parent trigger law could be in jeopardy - - The News for South Mississippi

Parent trigger law could be in jeopardy

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With recent arguments for and against charter schools in Mississippi, something that never really became a part of the debate was the state's current law.

It's known as the "parent trigger law," giving parents the chance to pull the trigger on a consistently failing school and take it over.

"It would operate just like a charter school, it would just be taken over by the parents as opposed to some third party organization," said Representative Cecil Brown, a democrat from Jackson.

That law passed the legislature a few years ago and Brown says it's an important tool for parents. Before it can happen, a school must be in one of the lowest three performing categories for at least three years in a row. Dozens of Mississippi schools already qualify.

"This is just the end of the third year this year, so we won't actually have the opportunity to have parent trigger schools until next year," said Brown.

They may not happen at all. When the battle over charter schools was being debated at the state capitol earlier this year, Brown says that charter legislation would have repealed the parent trigger law, taking that right away from the parents.

"I think that it was probably an oversight. I think that the people who drafted the proposed charter law looked at his law and said well we won't need that anymore because we'll have this other law," said Brown.

Brown is in favor of charter legislation but at the same time says the parent trigger law needs to stay in place. Brown says the Department of Education has already gotten inquires from parental and community groups ready to start the take over process.

"Regulations are not in place yet and in fact because of this proposed legislation in this session, I think some of these groups have backed off because they don't know if the law is going to be in place or not," said Brown.

Mississippi was the second state in the country to pass this legislation and since then more states have done the same. Brown plans to draft and introduce legislation protecting the parent trigger law for next years legislative session.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.


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