"More regulation & money do not fix education"

Roughly 200 students, teachers and policymakers gathered outside the entrance to the Alabama State House on Tuesday in support of school choice.

The event was hosted by former State Sen. Phil Williams, who was joined by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, State Rep. Charlotte Meadows, ALGOP Chairman John Wahl, and Apryl Marie Fogel, radio host and Publisher of Alabama Today. Also present in the audience was Lindy Blanchard, a candidate for Governor.

“Right now, it’s time for Alabama to fund students, not systems,” said Ainsworth. “It’s past time for us to do that.

“A zip code should not determine a child’s success in where they go to school in Alabama. Alabama has 75 failing school districts in this state and if you look at school choice, one of the areas we’ve got to improve on is reading and math proficiency and the data shows school choice does that.”

Ainsworth was followed by State Rep. Charlotte Meadows (R-District 74), who Williams introduced as a “champion of school choice.” Meadows spoke of how her personal experiences as a mother informed her perspective as a legislator.

“I realized what’s best for every child is different,” Meadows said. “I realized the most important thing in that child’s education was the teacher in the classroom. You cannot expect a child to learn if the teacher does not care about them.”

LISTEN NOW: Rep. Charlotte Meadows & Sen. Del Marsh Talk School Choice Legislation

Following Meadows, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, John Wahl, addressed the GOP's priorities when it comes to education.

“The number one factor with better education, is family and parental involvement in that education,” said Wahl. “I think the important thing for us to do is empower the individual. It’s an American concept, an American idea, this idea of individual liberty, of freedom, that parents are able to choose. More regulation and more money do not fix education.”

The final speaker of the event was Fogel, who led the crowd in a chant demanding school choice before explaining the need to act. 

“Our voices have to be louder than the dollars that the other side is giving,” said Fogel.

“Leaders like Del Marsh and Charlotte Meadows, they have been carrying legislation all around the country. It is time for those at the top in Alabama to hear our voices, see our votes and know that this is what we want.

“Every child deserves a chance to thrive,” said Fogel.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email sean.taylor@1819News.com.