School Choice

Alabama Welcomes Charter Schools With Smart New Legislation

Charter schools are coming to Alabama! A charter school bill, which allows 10 new charter schools per year for the first five years (and has strong accountability measures, to boot), is headed to Gov. Robert Bentley’s desk after passing the House and Senate last night. The legislation comes on the heels of a new report by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes detailing how urban charter schools on average achieve significantly greater student success in both math and reading than traditional schools. This amounts to 40 additional days of learning growth in math and 28 days of additional growth in reading. After several years of working to allow charter schools, Alabama students and families will finally be able to access the kind of high-quality education options that charter schools provide across the country. Needless to say, the education Twittersphere was pretty excited: https://twitter.com/Ninacharters/status/578380045133156353 https://twitter.com/ntlBAEO/status/578374325721559040 https://twitter.com/JacquelinCooper/status/578349295201550336 https://twitter.com/SMedlock/status/578350261413920769 https://twitter.com/StudentsFirstAL/status/578348899582103553 https://twitter.com/SenatorDelMarsh/status/578366961148649472 https://twitter.com/ericlerum/status/578373813286641664 https://twitter.com/CREDOatStanford/status/578238415952592897 As much as this will be a victory for Alabama school children, unfortunately there are families in seven other states who still don’t have access to charter schools. One of those states, West Virginia, came close this year, but unfortunately the state’s bill died over the weekend and the legislative session has since wrapped up. I guess West Virginia’s students will just have to be content with the schools they have for the moment—even though only 28 percent of the state’s 4th graders are reading at a proficient level or better.
Valentina Payne
Valentina Payne joined Bellwether Education Partners in 2021 as chief of staff to Andy Rotherham on the External Relations team. Prior to Bellwether, she spent seven years at brightbeam, where she most recently served as its chief growth officer, overseeing operations, finance, fundraising, and strategic growth of the organization.

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