2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 75%
Individual Tax Credit/Deduction
Alabama’s refundable tax credit program was enacted and launched in 2013. Different from traditional tax credit programs, refundable tax credits have greater utility for parents of more modest incomes.
Alabama’s education scholarship program was enacted and launched in 2013. A tax-credit scholarship program allows taxpayers who donate to nonprofit scholarship granting organization to receive a tax credits for their contribution.
Charter Schools Score: 62%
Alabama’s charter school law is young—it was passed in 2015. Unfortunately, it’s not a strong law, and it receives a “D” in the rankings. The law provides for only one (state) authorizer. One charter school has opened in Alabama.
- Law passed: 2015
- Number of charter schools: 1
- Estimated charter school enrollment: 300
- Virtual schools allowed
- Alabama caps the number of charter schools that can be authorized
- Charter schools can contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- Alabama earns 3 of 15 points for “authorizing.” Alabama school districts can register with the state to be charter authorizers. The Alabama Public Charter School Commission can authorize charter schools on appeal or in districts that choose not to register. While it is beneficial that the Public Charter School Commission is able to authorize charter schools on appeal, forcing charters to go through districts first greatly limits incentives for potential operators to apply for charters. Moreover, this layered (district and state) approach to authorizing subjects charters to additional, unnecessary, time consuming regulations.
- Alabama earns 3 of 15 points for “growth.” The law imposes a cap of ten new schools per year, which expires in 2020. There has been no growth in the charter sector since the Legislature passed Alabama’s charter school law.
- Alabama earns 12 of 20 for “operations.” Charters receive a blanket waiver from regulations that apply to district schools. However, the law also empowers the state Board of Education to write regulations specific to charter schools. This creates a political environment where charter schools can be subject to regulations that harm their ability to operate effectively, adversely affecting the student experience.
- Alabama earns 5 of 15 points for “funding equity.” Because the statute is new, it is unclear how Alabama’s charter provisions will be interpreted and implemented. The law calls for charter schools to be funded at parity with district schools and even calls for charters to receive local dollars (in addition to state funds). The law does not provide per-pupil facilities funds.
Teacher Quality Score: 75%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers C
Identifying Effective Teachers D-
Retaining Effective Teachers F
Exiting Ineffective Teachers F
Overall State Grade C