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    National Poll Shows Strong Support For Parent Trigger and Education Reform Policies in African American Community

    StudentsFirst, a bipartisan grassroots education reform organization, recently conducted a national survey, which found widespread support for school choice, parental empowerment, and teacher evaluations. The survey was issued in a continuing effort by StudentsFirst to educate under-served, low-income communities about innovative reform measures.

    Throughout the survey, a clear theme emerged – voters are supportive of education reform proposals that give parents more influence in public schools. Most notably, there is strong support on a national level for “Parent Trigger” legislation with 70% of likely voters supporting such a policy. Support is similarly strong among African American voters, whose communities have disproportionately been affected by low-performing schools – year after year – with 68% supporting such a policy.

    Parent Trigger – which was recently endorsed unanimously by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Black Conference of Mayors – is a revolutionary idea that empowers parents to mobilize, sign a petition demanding change, and help turnaround failing schools. Typically, parents can petition to implement one of the four Federal Race to the Top intervention models at their children’s school, although some states have introduced legislation modifying the reform options available to parents. 


    The concept has inspired an upcoming Hollywood film, “Won’t Back Down,” in which a single mother organizes parents to take control of their failing school over union opposition. Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal star in the movie, which has already received Oscar buzz. The movie will be released nationwide September 28, 2012.

    StudentsFirst is working to introduce “Parent Trigger” legislation in several states across the country.

    “Parents of students in failing schools often feel powerless when trying to give their children a better education,” said StudentsFirst’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs Tim Melton, in a recent appearance at an education panel at the National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention. “StudentsFirst strongly believes in the need for policies that empower parents to improve the educational opportunities available to their children.”

    The national survey – which was commissioned by StudentsFirst and conducted by SKDKnickerbocker and Beck Research – was fielded March 7-12, 2012 among a total of 1,000 likely November 2012 voters. Among the findings from the survey:

    · 90 percent of voters – specifically young female voters – believe providing parents with more power is a top priority.

    · When voters were asked to identify the single most important thing that can be done to improve education, increasing parental involvement came in second (18%), behind hiring and keeping good quality teachers (20%).

    · 70 percent of voters strongly support Parent Trigger and other measures that place more tools and power into the hands of parents.

    “In order for the Parent Trigger to create the intended impact, parents must have power to act and force a change without having to wait around for bureaucracies and special interests to make the changes that need to happen,” Melton added. “All students deserve the best education and the Parent Trigger provides parents with the opportunity to make that a reality.”

    Editor’s Note: To learn more contact StudentsFirst at: http://www.studentsfirst.org

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