The foundation of any society is built on the investment it places on the education of its children. With the largest portion of Texas’ Education budget, 56.3 percent ($43.6 billion spent on education (higher education and public education), it’s obvious Texans care about the their children.
Yet despite the billions we spend, many of our Texas schools are not performing at levels we expect. In other words, they’re failing.
What if you were the parent of a child stuck in a failing school? What options do you have? Well, for starters, you’d have to be willing to push the envelope and “buck the system,” where in many cases, schools circle the wagons in order to cover each other. You’d have to convince the school’s leadership that they must change their ways, the way they’ve been doing things for years.
Teacher’s Unions and liberal politicians think they know best, that parents don’t understand the real issues they face. They say parent’s shouldn’t have the ability to hold people accountable in their school district, and that they’re being misled by money-hungry capitalists who want to get rich off the public education system.
Openly going against the public school system and challenging the school’s leadership is not the easiest thing to do, and many parents simply throw their hands up in frustration, knowing they’re unable to really do anything on their own.
But in Texas, there is something known as a Trigger Law, in which parents of a failing school can organize and change the course of the school. From replacing the principal and majority of the staff, to making minor adjustments in policy and procedure, parents are empowered to take control of their schools, providing the best learning environment for their kids.
But, the current law requires a school to fail for 6 years consecutively before it is technically considered a “failing” school.
So what do parents do in the meantime? What can they do?
Nothing. They must wait through six agonizing years and endure the torment of knowing their kids aren’t getting the quality education they deserve. Imagine your child is in 5th grade at a school that has just received its first failing score. He would be in the 11th grade before you could technically do anything, assuming the school continued to fail for 6 consecutive years.
Essentially, we continue turning out students operating on less than full capacity.
In a world where competition for high-paying jobs will get more difficult by the year, can we afford to produce a workforce of less than average employees? Better question is, should we allow our tax dollars to be wasted in failing schools for 6 years before parents can do anything to change it?
Of course not, and that’s why SB1263 by Senator Larry Taylor, also known as the “parent trigger” bill, is so attractive to me and parents across the state.
It’s no secret, Hispanics are dropping out of High school at an alarming 29 percent, and for each year we allow our children to attend failing schools, we jeopardize their future. SB1263 reduces the time allowed for schools to fail from 6 years to 2 years.
In just 2 years with a failing school, parents can organize, collect signatures and petition the school. Parents could force the school to take corrective action by replacing leadership and staff, altering the course for not only their child, but for all children attending the failing school. In short, parents and families can take control of their own education future.
Ensuring bills like this are passed, is critical to the overall mission of providing the best education to our children that our tax dollars can provide, and if schools are failing, in my opinion, they must be put on track sooner than later, and 6 years is too long.