ERIC Number: ED558202
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Opening the Schoolhouse Doors: Tax Credits and Educational Access in Alabama
Carpenter, Dick M., II.; Erickson, Angela C.
Institute for Justice
In 2013, Alabama adopted the Alabama Accountability Act, an education reform measure that includes two new school choice programs that extend a lifeline to Alabama students trapped in failing public schools. One program offers a tax credit to help offset the cost of tuition for families who move their children from public schools designated as "failing" by the state to a private school. The other encourages millions in new private school scholarships for lower-income families by offering a tax credit for corporate and individual donations to scholarship funds. Shortly after the reforms were adopted, the Alabama Education Association and other opponents filed a lawsuit claiming, among other things, the tax credits violate the state constitution's prohibition on funding religious institutions. Not only does this argument contradict long-standing Alabama Supreme Court precedent, it also flies in the face of decades of similar programs already operating in Alabama, as detailed in this report. At least six other programs, some of them dating to the 1970s, give participating students a free choice of public, private or religious schools. In all of these programs, like the new tax credits, the funding supports the students, not the schools they happen to choose. A ruling against the tax credits would jeopardize not only the hopes of children desperate to escape failing public schools, but also educational support for more than 15,000 other students.
Descriptors: Tax Credits, State Legislation, School Choice, Public Schools, Tuition, Private Schools, Educational Quality, Scholarships, Low Income Groups, Corporate Support, Donors, Educational Change, Court Litigation, Religious Education, Grants, College Students, State Aid, Teacher Recruitment, Faculty Development, Victims, Crime
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: Institute for Justice
Identifiers - Location: Alabama