We’ve written a number of posts about the Alabama Accountability Act and how it has failed in its originally stated mission of “helping poor kids stuck in failing schools by their zip code.” As we pointed out here, the last regular legislative session finally admitted this bill had never been about doing what leadership claimed it would do.
Another example just surfaced when the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund (the scholarship granting organization created by Bob Riley and operated by a group in Florida) blanketed the state with a press release saluting their “Rising Star Student of the Month.”
The student attends Bible Methodist Christian School in Pell City, where he was enrolled prior to getting a scholarship according to AOSF. The press release does not mention that there are no “failing schools” in either the St. Clair County, Pell City, or Leeds school systems. So it is unlikely that he was zoned to attend a failing school.
No doubt this is a fine student with hopes and aspirations. But then, we have to afford the same judgment about the 372 students who attended Hayneville Middle School and Lowndes County Middle School last year, both of which are labeled as “failing schools.”
And while this student is getting a scholarship funded by money diverted from the Education Trust Fund to attend Bible Methodist Christian School, the 372 Lowndes County students got NOTHING. Did the accountability act direct extra funds for their school to add teachers and cut classroom size? Did it provide funding to give staff additional mentoring and professional development opportunities?
Not a single student got a scholarship. Not a single student transferred to a non-failing school in another school system. Instead, we just turned our back on them.
And all the while we continue to talk about our “Alabama values.”