The Texas Senate has approved legislation to expedite the parental right to close public schools or convert them into charter schools if they are underperforming academically.
The 26-5 Senate vote Wednesday to overhaul the state "parent trigger" law sends the changes to the House.
The state now can intervene in schools with persistently low test scores. A majority of parents may petition a school board for changes if scores don't improve, but the process can take six years.
The proposal by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood would allow parents to petition the state education commissioner directly after three years of low scores.
Democratic Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville suggested unsuccessfully that parents be required to prove a record of participation in Parent-Teacher Association meetings before signing petitions.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.