During an appearance on Tuesday's broadcast of Huntsville radio WVNN's "The Yaffee Program," House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), also one of the front-runners for the Speaker of the House race soon to be decided for the next quadrennium, hinted he was open to school choice in the upcoming legislative session.
Ledbetter said the "main priority" of the Alabama Legislature in the pending quadrennium was education.
In the past, Ledbetter has expressed skepticism about school choice initiatives brought by his colleagues in the legislature.
However, he told WVNN host Michael Yaffee that he saw school choice as part of the solution to Alabama's ailing K-12 public education system.
"I think it takes all of it," Ledbetter said. "You know, I think we've got some public schools that do a very good job. We've got some charter schools that are really starting to grow and do good work. The Accountability Act is working. I have been in some of the schools in the Birmingham area that it has been very successful in. I think school choice is certainly something we need to look at. I think whatever it takes to move the needle is what we need to do, and I think the mindset is moreso like that now more than ever. We know where the problems are, and I think those are the things we need to try to help those districts in lifting up their academics. So hopefully, we can do that."
The DeKalb County Republican lawmaker suggested a surgical approach to "certain areas that need it" when discussing the possibility of school choice legislation.
"I think what we've got to do is find what fits for our state," Ledbetter said. "I don't think it's just a broad-brush approach. I think we've got to take the wording out of the school choice bill that will work for certain areas that need it. I think there's possibilities for that. I really do.
"I think continuing to move the needle, and we did that this time — we had a Senate and House committee, a working committee of eight members up for the Senate and eight members for the House, both Republican and Democrat. Leader Scofield from the Senate and myself co-chaired that committee. I think we put some eight bills up."
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