A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called out Alabama for being among several Republican-led southern states to lag behind on school choice while its lawmakers receive big money from teachers' unions.

The op-ed by American Culture Project CEO John Tillman discussed the struggle to pass school choice but said the situation in Alabama was most "egregious."

"While the [Alabama] Legislature expanded a limited scholarship program earlier this year, it failed to act on a bill that would have created universal education savings accounts, which died in committee," Tillman wrote. "Turns out, a significant number of Republicans are friendly with the teachers unions that wanted to kill the bill."

He continued, "The Alabama Education Association's PAC has given campaign money to 92 GOP legislators since 2019. Some received as much as $80,000, while 46 received at least $20,000. The GOP chairman of the Senate Education Policy Committee received $40,000 from the union last year alone.

With two-thirds of AEA donations going to Republicans in 2022, Tillman said the Alabama GOP "may as well be the party of teachers unions."

"While many in the party's caucus haven't yet voted on the issue, there are signs they're ready to toe the union line," he said. "Last year, school-choice advocate Corey DeAngelis asked on Twitter whether a key GOP senator would support school choice after receiving at least $15,000 in contributions from teachers unions. The senator responded by blocking Mr. DeAngelis's account."

SEE ALSO: AEA's September issue of Alabama School Journal leads with RSA's Bronner anti-school choice screed

Tillman said the only way to pass true school choice legislation in Alabama and elsewhere may be to primary the Republicans allied with the teachers unions.

"Republicans against school choice have largely couched their opposition by asserting that rural areas have few private options and need strong public schools," he wrote. "It's a flawed argument, since universal school choice would create new private options and spur competition that improves public education."

To connect with the story's author or comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com.

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