Alabama Senate Passes Public Charter School Bill

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Washington, D.C. - Today, the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 45, the School Choice and Student Opportunity Act, which will allow the creation of high-quality public charter schools in the state for the first time.

Senate Bill 45 was introduced by the Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) last month and approved by the Education and Youth Affairs Committee last week.

Nina Rees, president and CEO at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released the following statement:

"This bill is an opportunity to provide thousands of children with more high-quality public school options. We at the National Alliance, along with our coalition partners in Alabama, are very pleased with the Senates vote today. Its a positive step toward building a brighter education system in Alabama.

"Alabama is one of only eight states that currently does not have a charter school law. If passed, the law will give Alabama families a great public school option that is flexible and innovative and has proven extremely valuable in closing academic achievement gaps.

"The Senate bill, which would allow up to 10 start-up charter schools and an unlimited number of conversions per year throughout the state, has several essential components for a strong law based on the guidelines in our Model Charter School Law. By providing a high degree of flexibility, this bill would encourage the creation of schools that can address student needs in innovative ways. Additionally, the bill includes strong accountability provisions in order to hold schools responsible for their finances, operations, and, most importantly, student results.

"We want to take this opportunity to thank Senate President Pro Tem Marsh and all the supporters of this bill for taking a significant step toward improving the pubic education system in Alabama.

We now urge the House to pass this legislation."

About Public Charter Schools

Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many independent research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.