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Parent Trigger Bill lobbying called into question

10:01 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Watching the debate over the Parent Empowerment Act on her phone Monday, mother Colleen Wood hopes legislators are listening.

"If this is about children, and it's not about money, then we know how the senators should vote. They should vote no on this bill because it doesn't empower parents," said Wood.

The bill would allow parents at failing public schools to turn them in to charter schools.

A vocal opponent of the bill since it was first proposed in 2011, Wood said the scandal over it's support this week should turn lawmakers against it.

A video that claimed to feature a Florida advocacy group was actually produced by a for-profit charter management company in California.

And hundreds of signatures on a petition in favor of the bill were disputed when roughly 20 percent of the people listed called Tallahassee to say they never signed it and their signatures were forged.

"You don't empower parents by lying to them, tricking them in to signing a petition, and once they've pulled that trigger, you kick them out of the process," she said.

Advocates of the bill say it would give parents a voice in their child's education, but Wood thinks it would turn education in to a business.

"If a million of us are saying this isn't good for our kids, and a handful of them with a million dollars are saying it is, who are our senators going to listen to? I think that's very telling," she said.

The bill has already passed in the house. The Senate will vote within the week.

First Coast News

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