There are way too many failing schools in Texas. Under the current law, if a school is failing, the parents can band together and demand change. But the school has to be labelled “academically unacceptable” for six years. The new law, HB 2976, would shorten that to only two years.
Current status on HB 2976: it’s in the House Committee on Public Education, which includes two reps from San Antonio, Mike Villarreal and Justin Rodriguez. They need to hear from people in San Antonio that HB 2976 is important. (Not sure which district you’re in? Look it up at Who represents me?)
I am asking my friends to call every night through April 29. It feels weird at first. But remember that the legislators work for you. Just keep it simple.
Need a script? Start with this one, then make it your own:
Hello, my name is ____________, and you are my representative. I am calling to ask you to support HB 2976, the parent trigger law. I have kids and I am concerned about education. Six years is too long to wait before parents can organize around a failing school. Please vote for HB 2976.
Here are the phone numbers:
- Rep. Mike Villarreal (District 123): 512-463-0532
- Rep. Justin Rodriguez (District 125): 512-463-0669
In my experience, it’s not as scary as you think it will be. Sometimes you get an answering machine—just stick with your script. Often, it will be an aide or assistant, who will write down your message; no need to leave your phone number or address if you don’t need a response. Once in a blue moon, the legislator himself or herself will answer, but just remember that they answer to us.
News coverage of HB 2976 (and its Senate companion, SB 1263):
- “The Need for Parent Trigger: 6 Years of Failing Schools is Unacceptable”, Ramiro Mojarro, Nancy Craig & Inga Cotton, La Prensa, April 21, 2013; reprint at Texans for Education Reform.
- “Educational reform in Texas calls for different solutions”, Rod Paige, Chase Untermeyer, Massey Villarreal & Fred Zeidman, Houston Chronicle, April 19, 2013.
- “Texas ‘parent-trigger’ schools measure advances”, Will Weissert (AP), Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, March 29, 2013.
- “Texas Senate panel OKs ‘parent-trigger’ bill aimed at pressuring districts to close or convert low-performing schools to charters”, Will Weissert (AP), Dallas Morning News, March 28, 2013.
- “Senate Education Panel Considers ‘Parent Trigger’ Bill”, Chris Hooks, Texas Tribune, March 26, 2013.