For the second time in less than a week, the school board of a large system has passed a resolution calling for the legislature to repeal the Alabama Accountability Act. This time it was Montgomery on a 5-1 vote.
Several members were forceful in their support of the resolution. Arica Smith said that with budgets as difficult as they now are, diverting money from public schools, as the act does, can not continue. Member Melissa Snowden echoed her statement.
Superintendent Ann Roy Moore reminded the board that studies by the University of Alabama show that students in private schools on AAA scholarships do not outperform public school students.
Here is the entirety of the resolution:
Whereas, the legislation known as the Alabama Accountability Act was
passed in 2013 with no guidance or input from educators; and
Whereas, this act was initially touted as a way to help students who
attended “failing schools” by offering them a pathway to non-failing schools
or scholarships to private schools; and
Whereas, various studies have consistently shown that less than 35
percent of all scholarships go to students “zoned” for “failing schools”; and
Whereas, research from the University of Alabama about academic
achievement of students in the Alabama Accountability Act shows, “In 78
percent of the comparisons made between scholarship recipients and
public school students, there was no statistically significant difference
between the scholarship recipients and students attending public schools;”
Whereas, each dollar designated for scholarships is a dollar diverted from
the Alabama Education Trust Fund; and
Whereas, since 2013 the total amount of such donations is $146.6 million
which amounts to approximately $5.8 million for the Montgomery County
school system; and
Whereas, the Montgomery County school system is struggling mightily to
meet its financial obligations and is presently predicting a deficit budget for
the 2018-19 school year:
Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Montgomery County board of
education strongly recommends to the Alabama legislature that the
Alabama Accountability Act be repealed when the legislature meets in
regular session in 2019.
It is expected that other schools boards around the state will take similar actions.