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Twenty Columbus Schools Qualify for Overhauls Under Parent-Trigger Law

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Twenty Columbus Ohio schools, or nearly 1 in 5, now qualify for major leadership overhauls under the state's pilot "parent-trigger" law, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Data released late last week by the Ohio Department of Education show those schools have been among the lowest-performing in the state since a limited parent-trigger law was passed as part of the state's budget in 2011. That means parents at any one of those schools can now opt to either replace 70 percent of the school's staff, convert the school into a charter, or turn the school over to the state or another outside group. 

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the law only applies to Columbus City Schools because its former superintendent offered the district up as a pilot for the new law, which has yet to be used in Ohio.

The paper also writes that the district chose StudentsFirst as the neutral third party to organize and inform parents about the parent trigger process. StudentsFirst is the education reform group founded by former District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and the group's role has raised concerns with the local teachers' union, the Columbus Education Association.

Parent-trigger laws are relatively new in the education reform space with the first one enacted in California in 2010. A handful of other states passed their own parent-trigger laws soon after, but the movement seems to have petered out with no new states enacting a parent-trigger law since 2012. California remains the only state where parents have actually used the parent-trigger to turn around a failing school.

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