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Jindal Backs 'Parent Trigger' in Louisiana

The "parent trigger" concept is one that has drawn the interest of growing number of state elected officials, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is evidently a believer.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about efforts in Florida to create a parent trigger law, which would allow parents of students in low-performing schools to vote to have them converted to a charter school or otherwise restructured.

That measure has drawn opposition in some quarters, from those who worry it will end up channeling more money to for-profit operators of charters, and that providers will coax parents into making poorly conceived changes to schools.

Jindal, a Republican, wants to change state law so that parents can vote to have their school eligible to become a charter within the state's Recovery School District after three years, as opposed to the current four years.

"Let me be clear: This plan is not about pitting school boards versus charter schools or teachers unions vs. parents," Jindal said in a speech last month. "This is about making sure all parents have an opportunity to get a quality education for their children."

The governor has outlined a broad and controversial agenda for schools, which includes an expansion of private-school vouchers. He's also seeking to ramp up charter expansion overall. He's proposed allowing a range of entities—community organizations, nonprofits, and universities, among others—to apply directly to the state to become charter authorizers.

In addition, Jindal says he wants to streamline the process for charter operators with "proven track records," and make it easier for them to find the facilities they need. He also wants to allow charter operators in low-performing districts to apply directly to the state.

While many parent-trigger measures have been sponsored by Republicans, they've also drawn some support from Democrats. Whether Jindal's plans will generate bipartisan backing remains to be seen.

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