If you had asked me earlier this week if I thought Indiana’s SB 496, the Parent Trigger Act, would face any difficulty in conference, I would have said, in so many words, “Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop us!” And most observers probably would have replied, “Sure looks that way!”
Famous last words…
State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) inserted language into a conference report late yesterday that effectively neutered the bill.
The original draft, which was modeled after California’s law and which the Indiana House passed just last week, would have allowed 51 percent of parents at a failing school to compel their local school district to undertake one of several reforms, such as closing the school, converting it to an independent charter, or allowing parents to have a voucher to send their kids to a better performing private or public school.
Kruse’s amendment would have required the local district to approve the petition, and granted bureaucrats and the teachers union far too much leeway to reject parents’ reforms. In short, it would have been a parent trigger with a school district lock.
Naturally, House Republicans (and not a few of Kruse’s colleagues in the senate) were chagrined. And since Indiana’s legislative session ends today, and lawmakers still have a budget and several other bills to approve, there was little hope or expectation of a late rally. Barring a last minute miracle (after a wreck like that?), at this hour the Indiana Parent Trigger is dead for the year. It’s a bittersweet end to an otherwise magnificent session for school reform.