'Parent trigger' bill cleared by House panel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida House panel has approved a bill that would give parents a say in turnaround plans for failing public schools.

The House Choice and Innovation subcommittee passed the measure (HB 867) on a party-line 8-5 vote Thursday. A similar bill was hard-fought and almost passed in the Legislature last year.

Supporters say it would encourage parents to get involved in their children's schools. Detractors counter that it's a back-door way to hand public schools over to private educational companies. One turnaround option would be to convert the failing school into a privately-run charter school.

The measure would give parents a vote in what to do with a failing school but the local school board makes the decision. That decision can be overruled by the State Board of Education.

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