'Parent Trigger' policy may be the answer for some failing lake area schools

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Parents may soon have the chance to catapult change in their child's low performing schools under a new policy that was approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) in June.

The 'Parent Trigger' policy allows parents in schools that have been rated with a D or F for three consecutive years to petition for state help. Once 50 percent of parents or guardians sign the petition, the school will be placed into the Recovery School District (RSD) and out of the jurisdiction of the local school board.

BESE District 7 Representative, Holly Boffy, says that parents need to understand that once the school is placed into the RSD, the school is subject to new leadership, a change in faculty and new procedures, so the petition is something to carefully consider before signing.

17 schools in Calcasieu Parish are already eligible for the program, having ratings of D and/or F in performance reports from 2008, 2009 and 2010.  The 2010-2011 reports will be released in October.

Of those Calcasieu Parish schools, Brentwood Elementary and LaGrange High falls within school board member, Dale Bernard's representative district. According to Bernard, one of many contributing factor to failing schools is the lack of parental involvement.  Bernard believes that a program like the 'Parent Trigger' policy will increase parent's involvement and may result in good.

More on the 'parent trigger' policy on later editions of 7News.

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