State Superintendent Reacts to SPLC Lawsuit


By Josh Ninke

The Southern Poverty Law Center claims the new Alabama Accountability Act is unconstitutional, trapping some students in failing schools.

But State Superintendent Tommy Bice thinks the lawsuit is premature.

The public school year has just begun, so the State Board of Education has been focusing on the new year. But the SPLC's lawsuit has not gone unnoticed. 
"For us right now, and I've been real clear about the Alabama Accountability Act, we just now started it. Let's give it some time and see how it plays how. We don't even know the numbers, the total numbers yet. We don't know the financial impact. That's my stand on it at the minute. I understand Southern Poverty's approach to this," said Bice.
But SPLC's president Richard Cohen doesn't think there's any time to waste putting a stop to the law
"I don't think it's premature for my clients to get a premature education like other children in alabama are getting. There's no reason why my clients or other children in the black belt should be stuck in failing schools," said Cohen.
He believes the controversial way the law passed in this year's session is all the proof he needs that it won't be a success. But he understands where Bice is coming from. 
"I think the governor, Dr. Bice are in a tough position. I think they know we're right. I hope cooler heads come together and look for a solution," said Cohen.
There are almost 60 private schools participating in the program, but that averages out to less than one per county.


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