In the inspired words of Mean Girls’ Principal Duvall, “Hell no. I did NOT leave the South Side for this.”
Courtesy of stuffpoint.com
Welcome to Alabama, y’all, where the tea is sweet, the food is fried and the politicians are sneaky. They managed to pass a pretty huge piece of legislation without much notice, right under our noses. I’d say that’s why their hair is so big, because it’s full of secrets. But most of them don’t have any (hair, I mean).
For the past month, Alabama legislators on Goat Hill (how’s that for Southern?) have been pushing a bill known as the Alabama Accountability Act. It’s been argued that this is a serious misnomer, as the bill has little to do with anything resembling accountability, and everything to do with education.
Although Alabama Governor Robert Bentley didn’t sign the bill into law until yesterday (the state supreme court had temporarily blocked the bill), the new legislation has been making headlines across the state for weeks. The bill grants tax credits to families with children zoned for public “failing schools” to help send them to private ones with better test scores. The catch? Those tax credits have to take money from somewhere. How about the state’s public education fund? Solid plan for improving public schools.
And none for public schools. BYE.
Eight years ago, I guess my family would’ve qualified. I went to a Birmingham City school from kindergarten through eighth grade, and loved every minute of my science fair-laden, tri-fold project board-filled education. But when it came time for me to start high school, my only options were schools with terrible test scores and graduation rates.
I didn’t realize it until I was older, but my parents were forced into an embarrassingly common Alabama education situation–send our kid to a failing public school, or send her to a private one with zero diversity (and I mean ZERO).
That’s how I ended up a Southern Baptist wearing plaid skirts and cardigans at Catholic school. The education was phenomenal, and the diversity element that was so important to my parents was also important to the educators at my alma mater. (Can I also add that the nuns who taught us played basketball and wore baseball hats over their veils? It was awesome.)
So, when I asked my mom about her feelings on the Accountability Act, I thought she’d be all for it. After all, who doesn’t love a good tax credit?
Her response? “I don’t see how in the world that’s supposed to fix our public school system.”
You go, Glen Coco.
For now, the Alabama Accountability Act is going in my Burn Book. Hopefully, it’ll be hit by one of the very public school buses it’s working to defund.