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Fast Facts

    •Graduation Rate: 75%
    •Average SAT Score: 1608
    •Average ACT Score: 20.4
    •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: $8,562
    •Public School Enrollment: 755,552

Alabama

The Heart of Dixie finally adopted a modest choice program, 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 the data is old making it difficult to make smart decisions, and school board elections are held in October, a busy time for parents to get engaged.

Alabama recently adopted a modest tax credit scholarship program that is too new to really see how it will result in greater opportunities for students. The program survived a legal challenge, as the State Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling and upheld the program’s constitutionality in March of 2015. It is considered the weakest tax credit program in the nation because participation is limited in scope. The state does not permit choice among traditional public schools.

SOURCE: Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014
SOURCE: Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014

Despite continuous efforts by legislators, Alabama is one of the eight remaining states with no charter school law.

SOURCE: 2015 Charter School Law Rankings State Analysis

Alabama is limited in its digital learning offerings, although students are currently required to successfully complete an online learning experience to earn a high school diploma. However, the state’s funding mechanism 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 controlled by a typical state salary schedule.

SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality

The overall state report card is very accessible, but school specific information is practically nonexistent, with no performance data readily available after 2009. There is also no information on tax credit scholarship programs available that doesn’t require a separate visit to the state department of revenue. 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.

  • Charter Schools are innovative public schools designed by educators, parents or civic leaders that are open by choice, accountable for results and free from most unnecessary rules and regulations governing conventional public schools. For more information about CER's annual charter law rankings, click here.
  • School choice means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the school their child will attend. States that give all parents the opportunity to choose the best school for their child – whether public, private, parochial or charter – ensure Parent Power!.
  • Teacher quality comes with strong, data-driven, performance-based accountability systems that ensure teachers are rewarded, retained and advanced based on how they perform in adding value to the students who they teach, measured predominantly by student achievement, along with skills and responsibilities.
  • Transparency in education means giving parents access to good and objective information about their schools, student and teacher performance and options.
  • The movement toward improving education in the U.S. today includes a strong focus on online learning, an approach that involves a myriad of delivery mechanisms via online tools for students, no matter where they live or attend school. Online learning is opening up classrooms to the world and ensuring students access to some of the best content and educators.
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