School Choice advocates rally at Alabama Capitol

Updated: Jan. 25, 2018 at 6:32 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's National School Choice Week, a movement that is also making strides in Alabama.

Around 1,000 people rallied on the lawn of the Alabama Capitol Thursday, reminding parents that students have a choice outside traditional public schools.

The landscape of education in Alabama is changing, and many of those who crowded together outside Alabama Capitol building have been impacted first-hand by the options of School Choice.

Athens City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Trey Holladay, spoke to the crowd about public school options. Holladay has been a trailblazer for School Choice in his district, opening the first public conversion charter school in Alabama and creating the Athens Renaissance School.

"Ninety percent thrive and do well in public schools, but we can't let ten percent fall through the cracks," said Holladay. "We don't think you have to give up anything, that's what we are advocating and what we believe, we provide that to kids outside their district."

Student, Zoe Champion attends a virtual public school, Alabama Connections Academy, an option she never anticipated needing.

"I started the year off in a performing arts school, but my mom has been very sick lately and my dad was changing jobs and I'm not able to drive yet, so  transportation was very hard getting to downtown Birmingham," said Champion.

Champion says the academic rigor is on par with her experience in traditional schools.

"It was a little strenuous at first", Champion said. "I was in all honors classes, and some people put home school and online school into that stereotype that it's easy, but it's a very hard curriculum."

Public charter schools have been a part of the conversation for improvements within the Montgomery Public School System, however Dr. Ed Richardson stated any option would like be a conversion charter.

So far, the state has not received any formal applications or letters of intent for charters in Montgomery.

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