Fast Facts•Graduation Rate: 69.2% •Average SAT Score: 1623 •Average ACT Score: 20.3 •4th Grade NAEP Math Score: 30% •8th Grade NAEP Math Score: 20% •4th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 31% •8th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 25% •Per Pupil Funding: $9,130 •Public School Enrollment: 748,889
The Heart of Dixie finally adopted a modest choice program in March 2013, but there are no charters, no trigger, and barely any online learning options. The only other thing this state has going for it is that its teacher quality index isn’t a complete failure. Parents also have access to a decent school report card to better understand their schools, but school board elections are held in October, a busy time for parents to get engaged.
In March 2013, Alabama Governor Bentley signed into law a tax credit scholarship program, which permits businesses to make donations to qualifying scholarship organizations that then can provide scholarships to students. To qualify, students from lower-income families must be in a low-performing public school. The tax credit could potentially help 6,000 students in failing districts, including students who currently attend a private school, but are zoned for a failing public school. The state does not permit choice among traditional public schools.SOURCE: The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
Despite continuous efforts by legislators, Alabama is one of the eight remaining states with no charter school law.SOURCE: 2014 Charter School Law Rankings and Scorecard
Alabama is limited in its digital learning offerings with only one virtual school that offers supplemental online learning. The state’s funding mechanism also does not support universal access to online learning options.SOURCE: Digital Learning Now!
Teachers are not evaluated using objective evidence of student learning, and tenure decisions are not based on effectiveness. Ineffective teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations will not be eligible for dismissal, as classroom performance is not considered grounds for dismissal, nor is it a determining factor in layoffs. Teacher pay is determined annually by the legislature, but there is some flexibility for districts to use performance as a factor in pay.SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality
While Alabama claims to make information available to parents online, there is nothing comprehensive, and the state’s website is cumbersome even for seasoned researchers. Major variances in city and county school board elections -- with some appointed and others elected, some elections in November and others in August -- make it difficult for parents to know when or how to hold elected or appointed school officials accountable.