William J. Canary: Observing National School Choice Week

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More than 1,000 students, parents, educators, and legislative and business leaders, observed National School Choice Week at the Alabama Capitol on Tuesday. People from across Alabama assembled to support school choice that gives parents the opportunity to benefit their children and communities.

School choice is a tool not only for parents and their children but also for business because today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and employees.

The Business Council of Alabama supported the Alabama School Choice Coalition rally and supports scholarships, fully funded volunteer pre-kindergarten for all Alabama 4-year-olds, and charter schools.

Alabama’s school choice opportunities began in 2013 with passage of the Alabama Accountability Act that includes giving children who attend under-performing schools the opportunity to attend schools of their choice.

The Parent Refundable Tax Credit program gives parents whose child is zoned to a failing school the opportunity to receive a tax credit to transfer their child to a nonfailing public or private school.

The Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Granting Organizations program allows low-income students who are zoned to failing public schools to receive scholarship to attend schools of their choice.

Last year’s School Choice and Opportunity Act created an application process for local school boards to establish up to 10 new or conversion public charter schools. This year we support efforts to take a fresh look at teaching and ways to reward our valuable teachers.

We in the business community continue to pledge to be partners with education because we all have a stake in the future.

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William J. Canary is president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama

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