School choice debate in Alabama continues ahead of school year

Alabama Christian Academy in Montgomery serves students in grades K2-12, focusing on a well-rounded curriculum with spiritual formation as its top priority. Three individual schools – the NEST, Lower School and Upper School – provide counselors to engage students and help guide them in their daily classroom experience.

Editor’s note: This article appeared Monday on Alabama’s

As Tennessee becomes the latest state to implement a school voucher program, some state officials say it’s time for Alabama to do the same.

LEAD Academy in Montgomery is one of Alabama’s 13 charter schools set to open its doors in the next few weeks. It’s a public school accountable to the state but with more autonomy in how it’s run.

Founder and state Rep. Charlotte Meadows, R-Montgomery, said charter schools are one way parents can have a say in public schooling, but she’d like to see others too — especially considering Alabama’s low national ranking in public education.

“If you look at the results that we’ve gotten with what we’ve been doing the last 50-75 years, I think we can all agree, we’re not getting the results we want, so I think it’s important parents get to choose,” Meadows said.

Meadows said education savings accounts could help expand parents’ choices, as it allows parents to spend public money on private schools.

“That money does not belong to the public schools, it belongs to the state of Alabama to educate our children, and if our children are going to be best educated in a tent out there in the yard, then that’s what we should be doing,” Meadows said.

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BY Special to NextSteps