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Parent Triggers Go the Slow Road

The momentum behind "parent trigger" proposals has slowed a bit, as state lawmakers deal with tough questions about how to structure those plans, a trend I examine in a story this week.

Parent triggers, for the unindoctrinated, typically allow parents to use a petition process to bring about the closure or restructuring of a school, or its conversion to a charter.

Getting behind the idea of parent-led overhauls is one thing; getting legislatures to act on them is something else. To some degree, legislators' tepid action on the topic probably reflects both the novelty of the parent triggers, and the crowded education agenda in most statehouses. Some lawmakers told me they're confident that the trigger train is rolling, but it will take a year or two for those proposals to gain traction. Others speculated that lawmakers are waiting to see what happens with California's parent trigger proposal, which has generated all kinds of controversy and legal trouble.

Of course, short-term stall-outs don't always foretell long-term legislative struggles for education policy. Just ask proponents of vouchers and charters, who have faced plenty of political setbacks, but have more recently seen at least some of their more ambitious proposals make it into law.

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