William J. Canary: Public charter schools provide value to business’s future

school kids bookbags

Citizens from across Alabama again this month will gather in Montgomery for School Choice Week scheduled Jan. 22-28 to show support for improving the quality of education and expanding access to highly effective schools.

The Business Council of Alabama will participate in Alabama’s National School Choice Week rally at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Conference Center on Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. Please join hundreds of students, parents, educators, legislators, and business leaders who believe that no child in Alabama should receive less than an adequate education simply due to his or her ZIP code or street address.

With the BCA’s urging, the Legislature passed the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act in 2015. Alabama is now the 43rd state with a charter school law that allows parents to enroll their children in adequate schools without having to move. The potential is great for two public charter schools this fall. Stay tuned.

In schools where the absence of student achievement is obvious and previous efforts to improve performance have failed, parents and students should be offered options for likely success. Competition forces businesses to improve quality, services, and products. School choice does the same by providing failing schools incentives to improve or risk losing students.

If Alabama is to continue to attract the aerospace, automobile, and rocket manufacturing facilities that have made us the envy of the rest of the nation, and if we are going to foster growth of our biotech, high-tech, and research industries, we must provide our children the education and skills that those jobs demand.

The future is for all of us. At the BCA we are dedicated to doing our part.


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