My own takeaways are in 140-character bites at right. As presently conceived, these laws are a means of co-opting the language of empowerment to use parents to inflict the same failed policies that virtually everyone agrees have been the undoing of No Child Left Behind.
I have to say, what was already an destructive use of public policy becomes especially distasteful when parents are set up to inflict it upon their own children. (It also makes the “trigger” metaphor that much more unfortunate…)
If the people who currently spend money on these trigger campaigns truly want to empower parents, why not invest in creating conditions that support true empowerment: educational programs and training that help parents to be involved in their schools and in their children’s academics (the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition offers some good examples), or supporting schools to offer food and childcare for infants so parents can get involved in other efforts around their neighborhood school?
And if public officials really value the voices of parents in ‘failing’ schools, why do they typically ignore parents and community members who ask (and have been asking for years on end) for greater and smarter investments in their neighborhood schools?