TROY, AL (WSFA) - According to professors that are part of the Troy University Johnson Center, Alabama test scores are below the national average and dropout rates are high.
Members of the Johnson Center released two additional chapters of "Improving Lives in Alabama: A Vision for Economic Freedom and Prosperity" on Wednesday. Both chapters are aimed at improving K-12th grade education in Alabama.
Some of the key points that were highlighted in the study are believed to be ways to improve the school system in Alabama.
Those points include:
Privatizing non-educational services
Turning non-educational services (such as transportation, operations and maintenance, and food services) over to private companies, which could save the state millions of dollars that could be funneled back into the classroom.
Privatizing non-educational services would also improve education because school officials and administrators could spend more time on education rather than managing non-education programs and employees.
Schools and teachers should not have to compromise when it comes to the time they devote to teaching.
Private companies have been proven to deliver higher quality services at a lower cost than school districts.
Almost $1.4 billion, nearly $2,000 per student, is spent on food, operations and maintenance, and transportation services. That is nearly 20 percent of Alabama's educational budget.
Nationally, one in six education dollars goes towards funding non-educational services, so by privatizing these services, millions of dollars could be saved.
Policy to support school choices
Legalize Charter Schools
Alabama should legalize Charter Schools. Charter schools receive public funding, but operate independently in order to encourage innovation. Parents and students voluntarily choose to enroll in charter schools, therefore the schools are directly held accountable for educational performances.
A study from Stanford University on charter schools in Michigan found that 52 in 56 different tested outcomes, charter schools performed better than conventional public schools.
Alabama currently does not allow the creation of charted public schools.
Students should not be restricted from attending high performing schools or schools that better fit their talents and learning styles due to geographic lines.
Education saving accounts
This allows families to opt out of assigned, failed schools and gives parents the authority and flexibility to determine how their child's education dollars are spent on either public or private education. The state would create an annual educational deposit that parents can access for any approved educational spending.
Universal tuition tax credit
Families would receive a refundable tuition tax credit of $5,000 per child, eligible taxpayers would get a check for the difference between the $5,000 per child, and the amount of state income tax they would otherwise owe.
State-granted vouchers would be given to parents to redeem for their children's education at either private or public schools.
Members of the study from the Johnson Center hope that the study helps improve the quality of education in Alabama.