State Representative Andrew Brenner announced on Twitter this week that he plans to pass legislation in next year that would expand the ability of parents to “takeover” a school to all of Ohio. Currently, this dramatic option is limited to implementation in the Columbus City School District through legislation Brenner helped adopt in 2011 (see Ohio Revised Code 3302.042).
We wrote about that legislation when it was initiated by the Ohio House back then, explaining how unlikely it is to ever take place as the requirements are necessarily strict in order to protect the children from having their school taken over by amateur educators. We followed up with Brenner to ensure that he remembered the 2011 adoption of the law and clarify his statements. The newly-reelected Republican from Delaware County was happy to explain.
We then clarified further about Brenner’s timing of this new legislation. Would he be introducing this during the lame duck session? Not likely. He expects it to be a BFD.
Finally, we wondered where this legislation was coming from. Since Brenner represents the Republican stronghold of Delaware County which contains some of the wealthiest districts with the highest standardized test scores — districts that typically don’t fall into the category of school that is discussed in the same sentence with Parent Takeover — it is puzzling that he would be advocating for this legislation so adamantly.
So . . . no, he hasn’t apparently been getting many calls from constituents.
To be clear on the Parent Trigger process, and to track back to the article that Brenner initially references in his first tweet, it isn’t a process in which parents actually run the school. Instead, it simply means that a majority group of parents elect to convert the school over to a charter school and choose a charter school operator from a list of those who submit proposals. Brenner’s article is restricted behind the Wall Street Journal pay wall, but The Hechinger Report provided a solid explanation back in October about the events in California.
If Brenner really wants to “quit subsidizing bad schools” here in Ohio, we know that he should start shutting down the charters and throw his support behind the public schools that are always there to pick up the pieces of children’s lives when the charters shut down mid-year due to mismanagement.
What we also know about Ohio is that the overwhelming majority of our charter schools fall squarely in the “bad schools” category that Brenner claims he wants to quit subsidizing. Unfortunately, trying to mandate that Ohioans subsidize a Parent Trigger process will have the same end result and simply wastes valuable time that the legislature could spend discussing issues of greater importance such as …. maybe a school funding bill that is nearly two years overdue?
You can follow Representative Andy Brenner on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewbrenner