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Parent Empowerment Law

Response by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to newspaper editors on the Parent Empowerment Law, dated February 28, 2011.

To the Editor:

Reports that California's "parent trigger law" is in peril are way off the mark.

Despite news accounts to the contrary, no one has proposed dismantling the law. The question before the State Board of Education is: what rules should govern the process for carrying it out?

After requests by many organizations for additional input on this issue, the State Board asked the Department of Education to convene a working group of parents, teachers, administrators, and advocates for charter schools to help answer that question.

It is unfortunate that many are relying upon hearsay rather than the Board’s actual discussions. (Anyone interested in the actual proceedings can watch them beginning at 23:49 into the February 9th meeting [WMV; 05;11;56]).

The law remains fully in effect and operative. No regulations are required for it to remain fully available as a tool for parents.  And in my view, the only purpose of potential regulations would be to clarify the process for carrying out the law.

Our schools need involved parents—particularly ones who are ready and willing to use every tool at their disposal to help their children succeed. Without a clear process in place, however, we risk diverting too much of their valuable time and energy from classrooms to courtrooms.

The working group held its initial meeting last week. I'm hopeful its experienced parents and educators will help us arrive at a clear, transparent, and workable system—one without the acrimony that has surrounded the first parent trigger petition in Compton.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

Questions: Communications Division | communications@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0818 
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