Heartland Institute Reacts to Parent Trigger Victories in Georgia, Kentucky

March 06, 2013

The legislatures in Georgia and Kentucky moved closer Tuesday to implementing versions of the “Parent Trigger,” a school reform proposal that gives parents the power to force districts to change failing schools.

The Kentucky state senate passed SB 176, a bill that allows parents to petition the local board of education to change persistently underachieving schools into charter schools. The Georgia state house on Tuesday passed HB 123, a bill requiring local school boards to consider converting failing public schools into charters if a majority of parents or teachers sign a petition.

The Heartland Institute has been at the forefront of advancing this education reform idea since it first passed in California in 2010. For more information and to review Heartland’s work on this reform, visit The Parent Trigger Web Site and search for “parent trigger” at PolicyBot.

The following statements from education policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“Kentucky and Georgia are to be congratulated in fostering vastly increased control of education by those who know and love children most – their parents.”

Herbert J. Walberg
Senior Fellow, Education
The Heartland Institute

“Bipartisan lawmakers and parents of all races support the Parent Trigger bill in Georgia because they know it gives families an opportunity to require that someone do something about their child’s failing school. Who, really, can argue with that? The point of education is to benefit kids, and any system that is not working for the kids must be changed.

“Critics of the Kentucky Parent Trigger bill say it would divert resources from schools. But if those schools are not serving students, or particular students, the money the state pays to educate that child should go to whatever actually educates the child. Rocket science, right? These arguments are deceptive diversions made by people who have other interests in preserving a system that doesn’t work for all kids.”

Joy Pullmann
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, School Reform News

“The expansion of the Parent Trigger in both Kentucky and Georgia shows that the idea is beginning to spread rapidly. Citizens are beginning to see through the weak arguments pushed by the failed and expensive district system.

“There is no more obvious solution to failing schools than to allow citizens to close them and bring in better options. An even better option would be to allow children in failing schools to use a voucher or scholarship to move to a school of their choice. Fund children, not districts.”

Bruno Behrend
Senior Fellow, Education Policy
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.