Charter schools can help

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Alabama has made strides in education with our highly-regarded pre-K program and rising test scores. However, there’s still much room for improvement. Our legislators can make up a lot of ground fairly quickly by passing the charter school bills currently in the Alabama House and Senate.

Two Shelby County public servants, Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Jefferson and Shelby, and Sen. Steve French, R-Jefferson and Shelby, are doing their part to provide quality education for all students by working on the charter school legislation.

We feel charter schools will help all schools improve, including public and private schools, because of the competition among the schools for students and for innovative teaching methods.

Shelby County already has excellent public schools; charter schools would only offer another educational opportunity for our students. Many families move here for the schools, and more would come if we had charter schools available.

Charter schools could also help Alabama bring in more education dollars from the federal government. Right now, we’re behind in the “Race to the Top,” the largest competitive education grant program ever, because of the charter school ban. States with charter schools have a leg up for this money, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be there right along with them.

Our legislators should take heed and break the ban. Allowing charter schools in the state of Alabama is just another step on the road to quality education.