Alabama School Choice Advocates to Rally for Charter Legislation
The Alabama Chapter of the Black Alliance for Educational Options is holding a rally Thursday at Alabama State University to pressure state lawmakers to introduce legislation that would allow charter schools to open in the state.
Alabama is one of only eight states without a charter school law, although several school choice advocates think the state will be the next domino to fall.
"We believe Alabama is poised to create a strong charter school law that will give our children access to new and innovative ways of learning and provide our parents with the power to choose," Duncan E. Kirkwood, the Alabama state director for BAEO, said in a statement.
Several Alabama Republican lawmakers have said they plan to attempt passing another charter school bill this upcoming session, and Senate President Del Marsh told the Montgomory Advisory this week that it's a priority. The last substantial push for a charter law was in 2012.
As I wrote in a recent story about the eight remaining charter school holdout states, the coalition currently advocating for a charter law in Alabama has players from both major political parties. BAEO, a nonpartisan organization, is leading the effort along with StudentsFirst, the education advocacy group founded by former District of Columbia schools chief Michelle Rhee; the Business Council of Alabama; and the Alabama Coalition for Public Charter Schools, which is headed by the former education policy director for Gov. Robert J. Bentley, a Republican.
However, the state's teachers' union is largely opposed to the idea and has helped block previous efforts to pass a charter law.
Photo credit: Duncan Kirkwood, state director of Alabama BAEO, is interviewed by local media after a town hall event in Montgomery, Ala., on charter schools in Alabama on Oct. 14. —Tamika Moore for Education Week