OKLAHOMA CITY – Lawmakers and parents who supported a measure that would have allowed parents to “trigger” major changes in their local underperforming schools are disappointed the bill did not receive more support in the House of Representatives. The measure will be laid over until the 2014 legislative session.
Holt said 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.“It is unfortunate for parents and children across the state that we
have not found consensus on Senate Bill 1001,” said Shumate, D-Tulsa. “I am committed to working with other members of the legislature in the future to bring real empowerment to our parents. I still believe that people support that which they help create; therefore, I hope that educators in the future will demonstrate better how to plan with and not for the parents and children they serve.”
“We’re trying to make real changes for our communities of Tulsa by giving the parents the power to save their children in places where the schools have failed them,” said Pastor Joyce A. Cooper of World Won for Christ in Tulsa. “We need to keep on standing up for our kids and giving our families the power to make the changes they need. Our children are stuck in these schools with no options, and so it is a shame that this bill is not going to be heard. All we can do is press on for real power for our parents and communities.”
Holt also believes the bill will become law in the near future as long as lawmakers remember who the bill is designed to protect.
“Unfortunately, real parents have no voice in the Capitol, especially parents in the kinds of communities where this bill would do the most good,” said Holt. “That’s why we as legislators have to speak for them. Our job is not to protect failure. Our job is to empower our parents to make positive change, because parents are who we represent, and improvement is what we should demand. I hope that when this bill returns in the future, we’ll remember that.”Last month, SB 1001 was approved in the Senate by a vote of 30-12. It can be considered in the House of Representatives in 2014.