Gov. Kay Ivey is promising to improve school choice for children and parents of Alabama. In a Friday interview with Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal," Ivey said that her goal is for Alabama "to be the most school choice-friendly state in the nation."
Ivey then announced that she would be presenting an Education Savings Account (ESA) bill to the Alabama Legislature in the next session starting in February 2024. "I want us to have lots of school choices for our parents to choose from," Ivey told "Capital Journal."
This ESA bill will be similar to school voucher programs that allow state funds to be distributed to parents to use toward the school or education of their choice.
As a home-school parent, I join other Alabamians in cautious optimism about Ivey's plans. I also fully agree with her statement on the importance of "for our parents to have choices of where to send their children to school, whether it's public, private, home-schooled or whatever, but the goal is to get our children a quality education."
With nine other Republican-majority states already passing ESA bills, this is an area in which the conservative state of Alabama is surprisingly behind. The topic was even raised in the last legislative session but shockingly overlooked, especially considering the damage done to academic advancement during COVID. Indeed, standardized tests now reveal that thousands of third graders are not reading at grade level.
According to an April poll conducted by the Alabama Republican Party, 57% of voters support school choice, and only 16% oppose it.
Such overwhelming support is not surprising, and with the push for CRT, LGBTQ-promoting materials, and other hidden progressive agendas in the curriculum, this bill cannot be passed soon enough. Every parent should be informed and educated on what their children are learning and how well they are performing, and I believe passing ESAs is just what the parents of Alabama need to start paying attention to what is going on in their school systems, enabling them to make more informed choices about their children's education.
This bill will also put more pressure on the schools and teachers to ensure their education is the best around. No good parent would leave their child in a school that was failing them, and they shouldn't have to. An ESA program would solidify their right to choose what is best for their child.
School choice, specifically ESAs, give parents the opportunity to stand up to the school boards and be heard or take their children elsewhere for their education. Such involvement and accountability is sorely lacking in Alabama, where we are currently ranked 44th in education nationally. An ESA bill will give our children more options to get the best education possible.
And if the opposing side is so confident that the current system is working, they should have nothing to worry about! Although, that rank of 44 tells a different story.
We have yet to see the details of how this ESA bill that Ivey is so confident about will play out. Still, it is definitely a glimmer of hope on Alabama's education horizon and a long-awaited step forward for our children's future. I am very excited to see what this bill will entail and the positive changes ahead for our state!
Lauren is a wife, mother, and writer with a passion for boldly speaking truth. Writing and speaking for over a decade, Lauren has reached millions worldwide. She is known for her Biblical approach to controversial topics and humorous approach to counteracting the lies of the world. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @laurendemoss.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com.
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