"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sanity Prevails in Alabama: No Charters

From the Huntsville Times:

MONTGOMERY - A Senate committee Wednesday effectively killed legislation that would have authorized charter schools in Alabama, a cause championed by Gov. Bob Riley.

In a 13-4 vote strictly along party lines, the Finance and Taxation Education Committee voted to indefinitely postpone the bill. A House committee had done the same last week.

. . . .

Morton has said without the charter school element, Alabama's chances of winning federal grants will be hampered. But Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, and chair of the committee, said that loss could be made up by Alabama's other innovative education programs.

AEA has opposed charter schools, saying it would cause problems in funding both systems.

"That approach (charter schools) is always going to be a niche that some people will argue for," said Hubbert. "There's certainly now beginning to have enough research behind it to suggest it is not the answer to education's problems."

President Barack Obama has allocated $4.35 billion in education nationally for the Race to the Top program.

But Democrats on the committee said since Riley and Alabama's Republican congressional delegation have steadfastly opposed Obama's stimulus funds, it was unlikely the state would receive money under the new education program.

"Here we are again with our head in the trough of so-called stimulus money that may never come to Alabama," said Sen. Bobby Denton, D-Muscle Shoals. "We've got our budget based on stimulus money that almost our entire delegation in Washington voted against. Alabama doesn't deserve to get a penny of stimulus money, according to the votes that were cast."

Denton added that Alabama doesn't need a new program based on stimulus funds.

"What we're going to continue is to perpetuate two Americas (with charter schools)," he said. "And I do not want to do that."

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