Supporters of parental rights and educational freedom scored a major victory when Gov. Kay Ivey signed the CHOOSE Act in March, establishing a school choice program based on education savings accounts (ESAs).

Pressure from teachers unions like the Alabama Education Association helped thwart school choice efforts in the past, but even some Republican lawmakers and voters expressed concerns about how the program could negatively impact their local public schools.

Corey DeAngelis, a self-described school choice "evangelist," sat down with 1819 News CEO Bryan Dawson on a recent episode of "1819 News: The Podcast" to give a history of the school choice movement and put to rest those fears.

In the interview, recorded just days before Alabama passed the CHOOSE Act, DeAngelis praised the state legislature for its efforts. He then pointed to the school choice programs in Florida and Arizona as examples of how they can benefit the families who use them and those who choose to stay in the public system.

"There's actually at least 11 studies that look at the competitive effects of school choice on the public schools because the main argument from the other side is this is great to empower families because, of course, they're going to benefit. They get a choice. But what about the kids that remain in the public schools? They'll say it'll decimate public schools or it will defund them; neither of those things have been true," he said.

"The public school funding has gone up year after year in Florida. And then also, in the competitive effects studies, 10 out of the 11 found positive effects of school choice competition on the outcomes in the public schools. They up their game in response to competition, and so school choice has been a rising tide that lifts all boats."

RELATED: Ainsworth praises final passage of CHOOSE Act: 'Alabama now ranks high among the nation's leaders in school choice options'

Regarding Arizona's school choice program, which established ESAs similar to what passed in Alabama, DeAngelis said it has "maximized" parental freedom and allowed private schools to stay private while ensuring funds are not misused.

"The Arizona public schools have gotten better over time, as well, as they've expanded their school choice initiative, and it's a maximum freedom program. So I would say, replicate the Arizona success in other states, as well, and it looks like the bill in Alabama is pretty dang similar."

To connect with the story's author or comment, email or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.