‘Parent Trigger’ Law Up for Discussion in Metro Council

Tonight members of Nashville’s metro council will meet to discuss so-called “parent-trigger” laws. Education Committee Chairman Fabian Bedne says he’s hosting the meeting for all council members to facilitate discussion, not out of a particular agenda.

Parent-trigger laws let parents or teachers unhappy with their public school petition to fire administrators or replace it with a charter school. Council members will hear from Alan Coverstone, Metro’s charter-schools director, and from Rich Haglund, the state board’s charter director.

Parent-triggers gained some ground in Nashville after a protracted fight this summer. That’s when the school board blocked the proposed Great Hearts charter school some parents badly wanted.

Ryan Donohue works for the California-based group Parent Revolution, which encourages parent-triggers. Donohue says his group was interested in Tennessee long before the Great Hearts debate unfolded. He says he may lobby the state to make its parent-trigger law easier to use, by only requiring half a school’s parents to sign on.

“In addition to that, a big part of the issue we have with the Tennessee law is the law allows for the school board ultimately to have a veto on the process as a whole. And we think that’s not right. This is an example of direct democracy at its finest.”

Donohue says his group has heard from dozens of interested people in the area.

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