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Governor says Alabama is out of the market for charter schools

Nov 15, 2012 by

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Gov. Robert Bentley says he will not take a second crack at allowing charter schools to operate in the state.

Charter school legislation was a priority for Republican legislative leaders during the 2012 session. Bentley spearheaded the movement that would have permitted the creation of public charter schools and the conversion of failing schools into the charter structure.

Despite strong Republican majorities in both houses of the state Legislature, the proposal failed to gain traction. The Alabama Education Association, the state’s teachers union, mounted a vigorous fight against the bill and was able to secure enough votes to put it to a stop, reports wtva.com.

If the bill had been approved, charter schools would have been legalized in the state’s four largest cities. Since the majority of charter schools are not unionized, that would have meant a loss of member dues for the union.

Bentley said his decision to not pursue charter school legislation should not be seen as a decision to stand by failing schools. Instead, the governor believes lawmakers should focus on improving existing laws that give administrators more power to make necessary changes

“I think we have tools in the box to help us do a better job of addressing failing schools, such as reconstituting schools, putting in new principals, changing out teachers, the state coming in and taking over some schools like what is happening in Birmingham. We have things we can do without charters,” Bentley said over the summer.

On Tuesday, the governor told the Birmingham Business Alliance that he’s examining other options for families with children in failing schools. One option could be awarding grants to failing schools that come up with improvement plans, reports the news site. Bentley said failing schools risk state takeover and restructuring if they don’t meet the goals in their improvement plans.

via Governor says Alabama is out of the market for charter schools – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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