Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed this week, January 20-26, to be Alabama School Choice Week, joining other states around the country in bringing awareness to school choice options available to parents.
WHNT 19 News reports that, Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week said, “We’re excited that Alabama families are so passionate about school choice, and we’re encouraged by Gov. Ivey’s support for that,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. “We wish Alabama families all the best in their celebrations and hope that the planned events and activities will help parents find the educational opportunities that best meet their children’s needs.”
More than 40,000 independent school choice events are planned for around the country and abroad, with 750 of those will be held in Alabama. That is a significant increase over last year, in which 548 events were held in the state. National School Choice Week was founded in 2011 as a nonpartisan “celebration of opportunity in education.”
In August 2018, the Associated Press reported the findings by Education Next, a journal published by Harvard’s Kennedy School and Stanford University. According to the report, “Forty-four percent of respondents in the poll conducted in May said they support the expansion of charter schools, compared to 39 percent in 2017. The gain of 5 percentage points, however, did not fully offset the drop in support from 51 percent in 2016.
When broken down according to party affiliation, 57 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats voiced support for charter schools, compared to 47 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats in 2017.”
Late last year, Alabama board of education member Ella Bell, a democrat, spoke out during a work session claiming that Alabama’s landmark tax credit scholarship program for low income families was part of an effort to “destroy a whole race of people.”
“They took money from the poorest counties in the state to send kids to private school,” Bell claimed, after accusing the program of “stealing” from the state. “That’s just awful.”
This claim was disputed in an editorial by Rachel Blackmon Bryars, a senior fellow at the Alabama Policy Institute. Bryars said, “The plain fact today is that the Alabama Accountability Act is a tiny fraction of our state’s education budget, it gives low-income families a sometimes life-altering choice, and almost all of the students receiving scholarships are minorities.
We should all be proud of that.
Because in the end, this is about what we believe education dollars are for – the system or the student.”
. Alabama currently ranks near the bottom in state education rankings.