Parent Empowerment Heads to House Floor
Around the State
Rep. Carlos Trujillo’s Parent Empowerment in Education bill will move to the House floor after it passed the House Education Committee on another party-line vote Friday.
Trujillo, R-Miami, worked to clear up the “hysteria and confusion” he said has surrounded what is actually in the language. HB 867 enables parents to have a say in fixing failing schools.
The bill allows parents to petition the school board to request one of several turnaround options if a school earns an F grade, at which time it is federally mandated to implement changes. Some options include converting the school to a district-managed school, making it a charter school or bringing in an outside entity to operate the school.
The legislation also prevents students from being taught by an ineffective teacher in consecutive years. Less than 3 percent of Florida’s teachers fall into that category.
Lastly, the bill requires schools to inform parents if teachers receive unsatisfactory marks and advise them that extra educational support is available, in the form of virtual teachers, who are also evaluated.
Rep. Joe Saunders, who voted against the bill in a previous committee, withdrew an amendment that would revise the requirement that students be barred from having the same ineffective teacher in back-to-back years. The Orlando Democrat voiced concerns it could hurt art programs like drama and chorus, that may only have one teacher.
A mother of two public school students, Rep. Elizabeth Porter, R-Lake City, said it was time for parents to get a seat at the table and join institutions in decisions about their children’s education.
“I want my voice heard; these are my children,” she proclaimed.
Anne Smith writes special to Sunshine State News.