With the new ‘parent trigger’ law that passed this last regular session, parents of students attending Eastside Memorial High School have been given a powerful new way to TRULY improve their school. The new law, SB 738, allows the parents to petition the Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams to act to improve or close the school.
If parents of a majority of the students attending Eastside Memorial sign a written petition to Commissioner Williams, he has the power to order the parents’ choice of one of three changes to the school. These three changes are closing the school, repurposing the school, and putting the school under alternative management.
The parents can only petition for this change if their school has a long track record of being a failing school, but this school has “achieved” that track record in spades. Eastside Memorial (aka Johnston) High School has been academically unacceptable for the last 8 years.
Most parents don’t want their local school closed or repurposed. They want it effectively managed, and that is what the ‘alternative management’ choice does. ‘Alternative Management’ is a nice way of saying that the school will be managed by a non-governmental school management company, exactly the way that charter schools are managed.
Now, it just so happens that not far away where Decker Lane meets FM969, a group of charter schools operated by KIPP Austin are located. Also I’ve heard that IDEA Academy is going to start an open enrollment charter school in East Austin. So there are charter school operators that can operate the school.
All that is needed to change the management of Eastside Memorial High School is for the parents of students that attend the school to get enough signed petitions.
And they can start right now! The petition form can be downloaded at this link. Parents just need to print the petition form, fill it out, sign it, date it and mail it to
Texans for Parental Choice in Education
3300 Bee Cave Road, Ste. 650-1156
Austin, TX 78746
It is important to note that the parent signing the petition must be the same parent that registered the child at the beginning of the school year.
So will the parents of Eastside Memorial step up, grab this powerful opportunity, get enough petitions signed, and transform their school?
We’ll have to wait and see……