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Column: Legislature should support Ivey’s plan to empower all students


In her Friday, July 21, 2023, appearance on Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal, Gov. Kay
Ivey shared that her office is working on an expansion of education choice in Alabama. Specifically,
Governor Ivey said her office is drafting an education savings accounts bill to present to the Legislature next year.

This is great news!

Ivey knows education should not be one-size-fits-all. Every student learns differently, and ESAs
can provide all students and families with the flexibility to meet their specific educational needs.

ESAs are not an attack on public education. In fact, it is the opposite. ESAs empower parents and
students to choose the best options for them. For many Alabamians, that means still choosing their local
public school. For others though, they need an option that doesn’t box them into a one-size-fits-all

With that flexibility, however, comes an exciting opportunity for traditional public schools. They can
become a preferred provider for students to purchase classes or services and open their doors to many
students they normally wouldn’t be able to serve. Education isn’t an all or nothing situation.

Like many areas of our everyday life, multiple providers and options for goods and services is a good
thing. You might drive a Ford truck, own an iPhone, or choose to pay your bills via online banking. That
doesn’t take away the other options at your disposal. It provides you with the opportunity to pick the
items that meet your specific needs. Why should education be any different?

If a child learns best through online classes but wants to participate in band at her local public school,
why shouldn’t she? If a child who is enrolled in private school wants to take advanced calculus at a local
public school because his school doesn’t offer it, why shouldn’t he? If a homeschool student wants to
play sports and take PE from a local public school, why shouldn’t she?

It’s not about the building. It’s about the students and what their unique needs are. It’s about providing the best educational opportunities for all of Alabama’s students.

As a former senior staffer for Governor Ivey, I know firsthand her commitment to education and advancing policies that will benefit all Alabamians. I know her heart and how much she truly cares about

It is my hope that the members of the Alabama Legislature will take Governor Ivey’s lead next legislative
session and pass universal ESAs. Empowering all of Alabama’s students is never a bad policy choice. As
Governor Ivey said, “The goal is to get our children a quality education.”

We couldn’t agree more, Governor.

Thompson is state director for Americans for Prosperity-Alabama.

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