Alabama Governor Signs Bill Allowing School Choice

Friday, March 15, 2013

Alabama's Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a sweeping education bill that gives tax credits to parents who want to transfer their children from a failing public school to another public or private school. The bill became law one day after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit against it was premature.

The controversial Alabama Accountability Act was adopted by the Republican-controlled Legislature in a loud and contentious vote on Feb. 28. Democrats and teachers' groups say the bill underwent massive changes during a late visit to a conference committee, transforming it from a measure allowing flexibility to school districts into a school-choice bill.

After announcing on Twitter that he had signed the bill, Bentley tweeted his support for it, saying, "For the first time ever, we're giving all public schools the flexibility they need to better serve their students."

The bill more than doubled in size when it emerged from the committee for a final vote, leading education leaders to withdraw their support and spurring Democrats to accuse their colleagues of underhanded tricks.

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