Opening the Schoolhouse Doors Alabama

 

Opening the Schoolhouse Doors

Tax Credits and Educational Access in Alabama


By Dick M. Carpenter II, Ph.D. and Angela Erickson
February 2014

opening-schoolhouse-doors alabama-cover
 


In 2013, Alabama adopted the Alabama Accountability Act, an education reform measure that includes two new school choice programs that extend a lifeline to Alabama students trapped in failing public schools. One program offers a tax credit to help offset the cost of tuition for families who move their children from public schools designated as “failing” by the state to a private school. The other encourages millions in new private school scholarships for lower-income families by offering a tax credit for corporate and individual donations to scholarship funds.

Shortly after the reforms were adopted, the Alabama Education Association and other opponents filed a lawsuit claiming, among other things, the tax credits violate the state constitution’s prohibition on funding religious institutions. Not only does this argument contradict long-standing Alabama Supreme Court precedent, it also flies in the face of decades of similar programs already operating in Alabama, as detailed in this report.

At least six other programs, some of them dating to the 1970s, give participating students a free choice of public, private or religious schools. In all of these programs, like the new tax credits, the funding supports the students, not the schools they happen to choose. A ruling against the tax credits would jeopardize not only the hopes children desperate to escape failing public schools, but also educational support for more than 15,000 other students.

 

Press Releases

Related IJ Cases

Media Advisory: Alabama School Choice Case Hearing Thursday in Montgomery Circuit Court; New Report Shows Choice Programs Have Long History in the State
(February 5, 2014) 

Alabama School ChoiceBoyd v. Magee

 



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Other Research
Report: Opening the Schoolhouse Doors: Indiana's Choice Scholarship Program Extends Long History of Choice-Based Aid
Report: Expanding Choice: Tax credits and Educational access in Montana
Report: Expanding Choice:
Tax credits and Educational access in Indiana

Report: Choice and Opportunity: The Past and Future of Choice-Based Aid in Louisiana
Report: Private Choice in Public Programs: How Private Institutions Secure Social Services for Georgians
Report: Private Choice in Public Programs: How Private Institutions Secure Social Services for Arizonans

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