Alabama House Committee Approves Charter Schools Bill

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The House Ways & Means committee Thursday approved a bill that would allow charter schools in Alabama.  The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives for debate.

Rep. Phil Williams (R-Huntsville) sponsored House Bill 541, titled The Education Options Act of 2012.  He says the bill would, among other things, establish public charter schools in districts with persistently low-performing schools.

“Today was a victory for students and parents who have never been given an option of a quality school,” Rep. Williams said. “Public charter schools will bring a new dynamic to Alabama education that can breathe new life into areas that have fallen dreadfully behind. The great thing about this bill is that it offers every school district in Alabama many of the same flexibilities that are given to charter schools. If our administrators take advantage of this proposal, every school in Alabama could benefit from the Education Options Act.”

Rep. Williams issued a revised version of the bill earlier this week.  The Alabama Education Association said it still opposes the legislation.

“Why, in a state that you can’t buy textbooks, where you can’t afford to put a nationally-recogized AMSTI program in every school for every student — why would you divide money between charter schools and public schools that would sit them side by side?” asked David Stout, an AEA spokesperson.  “It does not make sense.”

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