Over 3,000 students, parents, educators, and community members rallied at the Alabama State Capitol Wednesday morning for National School Choice Week. National School Choice Week provides an unprecedented opportunity, every January, to shine a positive spotlight on the need for effective education options for all children. This rally was a part of over thousands of events across the country.
The rally started with a march to the Capitol up Dexter Avenue. “What do we want? School Choice! When do we want it? Now!” chanted the crowd as they marched with signs and banners up the sidewalk.
There was a panel of community activist, students, parents, and legislatures who spoke about school choice. Charter schools were the hot topic for the rally, especially since there is a public charter school bill this session. “They are not a threat” said House Speaker Mark Hubbard, “They are a tool to help. The goal is to educate kids”.
The school choice movement ignited in 2013 when the Accountability Act was passed. Alabama Senate President Pro Temp Del Marsh told the crowd that 4,000 students had the opportunity they never had before through the Accountability Act. Since the act was passed, many low-income households were afforded the opportunity to place their children in private schools and non- failing schools. Seth White, a student,shared with the audience how the scholarship program created through the Accountability Act helped him to continue to attend a good school. A parent also shared her story of how the scholarship program helped her to place both of her children in private schools.