News from Progress Michigan

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Contact: Jessica Tramontana, (517) 974-6302,

Corporate front group pushes “parent trigger” that would allow corporate takeover of Michigan schools

LANSING – Michigan citizens are urging state Sen. Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) to drop his membership with the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and stop pushing a school privatization bill inspired by ALEC model legislation. Engulfed in controversy and quickly losing corporate sponsors and lawmaker members, ALEC was recently featured in a report from citizens’ watchdog groups in Michigan called “ALEC Exposed in Michigan.” This report highlighted multiple bills that are clear cut-and-paste jobs from ALEC model legislation.

“It’s pretty simple. Corporate lobbyists and wealthy special interests should not be writing our laws,” said Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “It’s time for Michigan lawmakers to stop pushing this model legislation that has never saved a single school, and would only enrich private corporations and pit parents against teachers.”

So-called “parent trigger” laws were first promoted by a small charter school operator in California, and have only been implemented twice. They were initially enacted in California in 2010, then began spreading to other state legislatures when they were picked up by the controversial Heartland Institute and ALEC. 

Contrary to proponents’ claims, “parent trigger” laws have had limited success. In Compton, CA, a group called “Parent Revolution” founded by a charter school operator paid individuals to collect petition signatures, but a court threw out the petitions. In Adelanto, parents signed petitions, then withdrew their support, resulting in a lawsuit which is still unfolding. Instead of promoting reform and unity, both petition drives have been criticized for creating “chaos and division” in the community.

The next phase in the corporate promotion scheme is a manipulative and dishonest film called “Won’t Back Down,” which portrays teachers uniting with parents to transform a school. In reality, most teachers are likely to get fired under “parent trigger” laws, and there is no empirical data supporting the premise that a “parent trigger” does anything to improve student achievement.



New York TimesTriggers Create Nothing but Chaos and Division

PR Watch“Won’t Back Down” Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal

Heartland InstituteThe Parent Trigger: A Model for Transforming Education

ALEC Model BillParent Trigger Act [PDF]

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