Governor signs Alabama Accountability Act - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Governor signs Alabama Accountability Act

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Governor Robert Bentley spoke with the media Thursday shortly after signing the Education Accountability Act into law. (abc3340.com) Governor Robert Bentley spoke with the media Thursday shortly after signing the Education Accountability Act into law. (abc3340.com)

Governor Robert Bentley has signed the Alabama Accountability Act.

This comes after the temporary restraining order was lifted Wednesday. The Supreme Court lifted the restraining order saying it was too early to rule on the legality of the way the bill was passed because it had not been signed into law.

 

Release from Governor Robert Bentley Today:

Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday signed the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, which will provide flexibility to help public schools improve while also helping more children have access to a high-quality education.

"For the first time ever, we're giving all public schools the flexibility they need to better serve their students," Governor Bentley said.  "Every school can now develop new ideas that come from their local teachers and their local principals and then put those ideas into practice.  Local educators deserve the freedom and opportunity to make their schools better.  That's what this legislation provides."

"This also gives flexibility to children and parents by providing new options for students who are stuck in persistently low-performing schools," Governor Bentley added.  "All children deserve access to a quality education, no matter where they live.  This provides a new option to help children receive the best education possible."

"As promised, this bill gives flexibility without infringing on the rights and responsibilities of our classroom teachers," Governor Bentley said.  "This bill shows that we trust our teachers to innovate and to develop new programs to reach our children.  And this bill shows families that we're committed to making sure their children have access to a quality education."

"Some concerns have been raised regarding the impact of this legislation," Governor Bentley said.  "The Department of Revenue and the State Department of Education are reviewing this bill and can develop responsible rules and regulations to address various concerns.  The most important thing right now is to make sure our schools, our families and our children have the tools they need.  This bill gives them that flexibility."

-------

Background on the Alabama Accountability Act from Late February/Early March

Release from the office of House Speaker Mike Hubbard

"Passage of this law provides school systems across the state with the tools they need to implement innovative ideas and escape from the tired, cookie-cutter approach that has plagued education in Alabama for decades. More importantly, it gives administrators and teachers in failing systems the flexibility they need to improve their performance, and it provides students trapped in these systems a lifeline to access the education opportunities they deserve ," stated Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). "The Legislature served notice today that mediocrity in public education will no longer be tolerated because Alabama's students, parents and teachers deserve better."

"It's critical that we not only provide innovative flexibility to teachers and administrators, but also to parents and children trapped in failing schools. Too often parents and children get lost in these legislative discussions," stated Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston). "What we've done here today unlocks the doors of choice for parents in failing schools. Who better to decide what's best for children than the ones who raise them?"

The Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 allows schools and school districts the opportunity to enter into flexibility contracts with the purpose of improving education for their students.

Additionally, the bill will provide income tax credits for families with students in a failing school to attend a non-failing school.  Individuals or businesses who donate to a nonprofit that provides scholarships for students to attend a non-failing school will also be able to receive tax credits.

"I ran for the Legislature in order to make meaningful, long-lasting improvements in the lives of my fellow Alabamians, and today, we did just that," said Representative Chad Fincher. "Schoolchildren who woke up this morning with little opportunity and few hopes for success now have a clearly lit path to a quality education and a brighter future.  Parents in low performing systems have a helping hand pushing their children toward the American dream.  For the first time, school systems have true local control over the decisions they make and the methods they use, and failing schools have the ability to fix the inherent problems that ail them.  Alabama's public education system has been literally begging for reform, and it was pulled firmly into the 21st Century today."

"As a public school parent in this state, I couldn't be more proud to have been a part of this process," Senator Bill Holtclaw said. "Not only does this bill give local school systems the ability to meet their needs, but it provides students and parents in failing schools with the option to receive a quality education."

This bill has multiple checks and balances ranging from the local school board all the way to the State School Board and State Superintendent and explicitly ensures that flexibilities detrimental to the rights of teachers cannot be granted.

Governor Robert Bentley releases statement on passed bill

"This is historic education reform that will benefit students and families across the state," Governor Bentley said.  "Local school systems will have the flexibility to make more decisions on behalf of their students.  Families will have new options if their children are stuck in failing schools.  All children, regardless of their family's income or where they live, will have the opportunity to receive a quality education."

"As promised, this bill gives school districts flexibility without infringing on the rights and responsibilities of our classroom teachers," Governor Bentley added.  "This bill shows that we have confidence in our local educators to know what's best for their students."

"I appreciate the hard work of the legislative leadership, the bill's sponsors and everyone who worked together to give our schools and families greater flexibility," Governor Bentley said.  "Students will benefit as a direct result of the legislation approved tonight."

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