It’s hard to miss the yellow scarves advertising school choice week, especially at the School Choice Week Rally.
About 2,000 students, parents, and supporters came out for the event.
Ibrahim Lee, an activist for school choice, says we need to keep pushing for opportunities.
“We live in a time right now where the inequalities in education are so disparing across the board that there has to be other options. Every year we talk about the 5 year plan or the 10 year plan, me as a former principal in the Montgomery Public School system, a reformed practitioner, what about the 4 years before that 5 year plan starts happening, those students that we lose,” said Lee.
People from all over the state came out, including staff from the state’s first virtual school that started this year in Eufaula.
The school has about 1200 students from K-12.
“I really do think that learners, our students, people that are probably contemplating on coming in, they should think about this option. It’s open to parents who are thinking ok, what should I do? The traditional brick and mortar is something that we like but we want to transition to something more at home,” said Wendolyn Perdue, an adviser with the virtual school.
Another option that many are excited about is charter schools.
Lawmakers in Alabama passed a law allowing the schools to open, but only four systems applied for charter schools. Two in Birmingham were recently rejected.
Gloria Batts sits on the state’s Charter School Commission in addition to helping students in the Huntsville area.
The state’s first charter school is opening this fall in Mobile, and she says these schools offer more accountability than traditional public schools.
“Those schools are failing our kids, there’s typically not a consequence for that. With charter schools as the legislation is written in the state of Alabama, a charter school would have 5 years to prove itself. We don’t require that of our traditional public school system,” said Batts.