State School Board Tackles New Accountability Act Changes


By Josh Ninke

The State Board of Education is considering several changes in how the state educates students including the new Education 2020 plan and the controversial school Accountability Act. 

Today's meeting showed that some board members still aren't sure about how the Accountability Act is going to work, but they are still excited about the future of education in Alabama. 

The new law gives parents a tax credit to take their children out of failing schools and put them private ones.

The board added some rules today that make it easier for them to intervene in severely underperforming schools, but one member still thinks that parents will be confused. 

"If I'm a parent in a low performing school, I want my child to go to a higher, a high performing school. A school that is considered high performing. The question becomes even in Montgomery where would those schools be," said Ella Bell, President Pro Tem of the State School Board. 

When looking at children's performance across the state, the Education 2020 plan breaks up students by ethnic groups to see who needs more help in certain subjects. But some parents say that's discrimnation.

"I don't believe that the kids should be separated. I think that everyone should be mixed in together, I don't think that we should have kids over here and over there," said Tyneisha Kindell, a mother from Tuskegee.

But State Superintendent Tommy Bice says that there's an obvious gap and addressing it is the opposite of discrimination.

"The fact that we acknowledge that in the state of alabama we have a group, certain groups of students are functioning lower than the all group student, the fact that we stated that, owned it, numerically identified where they are. And because of that have set an even more steep learning trajectory for those students to try and erase that gap," said Bice.

Parents of children at failing schools will be receiving a letter sometime next week detailing what their options are for the coming year and they'll have until August 9th to make those decisions.


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