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American Federation for Children Congratulates Alabama for Passing School Choice Bill

Posted on Friday March 01, 2013 | National

House Bill 84 will provide disadvantaged students with access to educational options

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1, 2013)—The American Federation for Children—the nation's voice for educational choice—today applauded the Alabama legislature for passing and Governor Robert Bentley (R) for his intention to sign, a revamped education bill aimed at providing families with educational options.

House Bill 84 passed on Thursday, providing students with the opportunity to transfer out of failing schools and into private, parochial, or other public schools through individual and corporate tax credits.

"I truly believe this is historic education reform and it will benefit students and families across Alabama regardless of their income and regardless of where they live," said Governor Bentley said in a press conference Thursday night.  "I'm so proud we have done this for the children of this state and especially the children who are in failing school systems and had no way out. Now, they have a way out."

The bill passed by a vote of 22-11 in the state Senate and 51-26 in the state House.  The Governor is expected to sign the bill next and it will be Alabama’s first school choice program.  

“In a state currently lacking in educational options for families, I applaud the state legislature and Governor Bentley for taking this first and important step to give families a choice and children trapped in schools that do not work for them a way out” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the Federation.  “Educational choice is a catalyst and essential component of meaningful education reform.  It is the key to ensuring every child has access to the best education possible, regardless of their family’s income or zip code.”

Nationwide, there are 32 publicly-funded private school choice programs in 16 states and the District of Columbia.  According to the annual Alliance for School Choice School Choice Yearbook, approximately 250,000 children are participating in these programs this year.