Much has been made of the death of the so-called Education Options Act of 2012, aka the charter school bill. There has been much written about why it died – it didn’t have support from the superintendents, the school boards, or the teachers, it didn’t have support in the rural areas or the suburbs where the GOP is strongest, or the simple fact that nobody really liked any version of the bill. Perhaps Alabama is merely following a trend. The more people are educated about charter schools, the less they like them. Four states which don’t have charter schools considered allowing them this year. All four of them (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Washington) decided against them.
Also, one thing that is getting lost is that there were reform provisions in the bill which people liked, but those provisions had nothing to do with charter schools. Legislators were content to let those reform efforts die when they could have passed them by taking them out of the charter school bill. Legislators say they will return with another charter school bill next year so we will have plenty of time to discuss them.
For now, here’s what Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road, said about the death of the charter school bill.
Brewbaker, the Pike Road Republican who sponsored the Senate version, said that aspects of his bill — particularly the requirement that the state superintendent must take over consistently low-performing schools and the ability for local school districts to apply for waivers from state regulations — were worth focusing on. But he added that charter provisions within the proposal, Senate Bill 513, had to be diluted in order for the bill to pass the chamber.
“There’s just not support for a broad, open-ended charter system right now” in the Senate, Brewbaker told the committee.