New Alabama law labels special schools as 'failing'

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jack Moran uprooted his family and moved to another county so his daughter could attend Linda Nolen Learning Center, where there's a waiting list for students to get in.

Still, under Alabama law, the Shelby County school is failing.

The center — with about 117 students and a reputation that draws people even from other states — is among four such public schools statewide that teach only special-needs students that wound up classified as "failing" under Republican-backed legislation enacted this year. The others are in Cullman, Mobile and Montgomery.

Parents could now remove their kids from Linda Nolen and the other three schools and get tax credits of about $3,500 annually for placing them in private schools. But parents and officials say few are likely to do that. The education offered by the centers is just too good and affordable, they say.

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