Edmund Pettis Bridge, site of the Bloody Sunday attack in 1965 in Selma, AL
Race and poverty have long been predictive of nearly every quality-of-life indicator in Alabama. While Alabama ranks among the poorest states in the country overall, Blacks and Latinos are more than twice as likely as their peers to live in poverty. Not surprisingly, generational poverty and inequity continue to divide the state's public education system along racial lines today.
The vast majority of failing schools in Alabama have among the highest percentages of low-income, minority students. In fact, 72 of the 76 schools on the state's failing schools list had a poverty rate of at least 90%. Many of these schools have failed for generations to produce better outcomes.
To end educational inequity and break the cycle of poverty, we must do better immediately.
New Schools for Alabama will identify the highest-performing charter school networks in the nation and recruit the best among them to establish new schools in the regions of Alabama with the greatest need. We will coordinate with community stakeholders to identify a charter operator that best fits the needs of the community, and we will secure the resources to ensure that the operator will come.
We will launch competitive grant programs to attract and cultivate homegrown aspiring leaders to build new high-quality charter schools in the state. We will support these leaders with ample startup funding and meaningful fellowship opportunities to ensure the continued success of their schools, and we will provide expert technical assistance along the way.
We will will work to enhance parent and community access to information on local school quality. We will work with partner organizations around the state to launch a charter advocacy campaign, beginning with the creation of a parent advocacy network.
We will engage in legislative and regulatory advocacy to ensure a supportive policy environment. We will ensure that our legislative agenda serves the betterment of the charter school community while bearing in mind the broader needs of all public school students in Alabama.