At the Business Council of Alabama’s urging, the Legislature passed the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act in 2015. Alabama joined the majority of states with charter school laws that allow parents to enroll their children in adequate schools without having to move. The BCA and the Business Education Alliance of Alabama believe that no child should receive less than an adequate education simply due to where the child lives.
In schools where the absence of student achievement is obvious and previous efforts to improve performance have failed, parents and students now have 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.
Alabama can continue to attract the aerospace, automobile, and rocket manufacturing facilities that have made us the envy of the nation. If we are going to foster growth of our biotech, high-tech, and research industries, we must provide children the education and skills those jobs demand.
Charter schools are public schools operated with taxpayer dollars and open to any student who wishes to attend despite their economic standing, school district, or any other factor. They do not charge tuition. Accountability and results are the top priorities in such schools, and the charters under which they operate specifically and spell out the goals and student achievements they are expected to produce. In return for operating under these heightened standards, educators in charter schools are allowed leeway in the education processes they employ so long as they produce expected results.
Supporters of charter schools include all sides of the political prism. Leaders as diverse as Barack Obama and George W. Bush have embraced and promoted the charter school model as more and more states implement its use.
As Alabama’s economy continues to evolve with more and more biotech, high tech, and research companies opening here, and airplane and rocket manufacturing plants dotting our landscape, our public education model will meet the changes. The BEA knows that 21st Century jobs demand a modernized public education system and forthcoming charter schools will put us well on the way to providing it.