Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 27, 2013
Sen. David Holt
Senate Education Committee Passes “Parent Empowerment Act”
The “Parent Empowerment Act,” has passed its first
hurdle in the Legislature. The bipartisan bill, SB 1001, authored
by Sen. David
Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. Jabar
Shumate, D-Tulsa, will give Oklahoma parents a new tool to accomplish
dramatic and positive change in their child’s underperforming
school. The bill was approved 7-3 by the Senate Education Committee
The Parent Empowerment Act establishes an Oklahoma version of a
concept often called a “parent trigger.” If a majority
of parents in an underperforming school sign a petition, they may
transition the school to a charter school or terminate the administrators.
The option to terminate administrators is only available in Oklahoma
or Tulsa counties. An underperforming school is defined as a school
that has received a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ for at
least the last two years under Oklahoma’s new grading system,
or a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ for two of the last three
years, as long as the most recent grade was a ‘D’ or
an ‘F’. If the parents choose the charter school option,
the charter school will first serve all students in the existing
attendance boundaries of the school.
Holt praised the Education Committee for its action.
“I think the Parent Empowerment Act provides an important
new tool for Oklahoma parents,” Holt said. “It won’t
be the right answer in every circumstance, but where it is, it has
the potential to change the trajectory of thousands of young lives.”
Holt explained that charter schools provide more flexibility, and
the goal of chartering an underperforming school under the Parent
Empowerment Act would be to provide the flexibility needed to improve
student performance at the school in a manner led jointly by motivated
parents and school district leaders. The process of creating a charter
school outlined in the Parent Empowerment Act is designed to create
a collaborative relationship between the parents and the school
district, rather than an adversarial one.
Parent triggers have been enacted in at least seven other states,
most notably California, where the first schools are now in the
implementation process. Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi,
The Oklahoman, and noted education reformer Michelle Rhee have all
endorsed a parent trigger law for Oklahoma.
SB 1001 now advances for consideration by the full Senate.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Holt: (405) 521-5636