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Ainsworth: School choice ‘could be a lifeline’ for some students

After recently saying “I support school choice 100%,” Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth is once again making clear how much he supports more of these options for students in the Yellowhammer State.

Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Ainsworth discussed school choice and other ways to improve the education system in Alabama.

“I think you hear a lot of chatter, and something I’m certainly in support of, [is] school choice,” Ainsworth said. “And why does that matter? I mean you’ve got students that have been in historically failing schools. Look at Montgomery, right here the state’s capitol, you’ve got a lot of failing schools and those students are trapped, and so to give them an opportunity to go to potentially a private school, wow, that could be a lifeline for those students.”

Ainsworth said school choice would involve much more than just private school opportunities.

“[W]e need to potentially look at charter schools in some areas,” he said. “That historically has worked in a lot of places.”

He admitted that school choice won’t fix all the issues in education, but it could help many students across the state.

“[I]t boils down to having competition,” he said, “and when you do that and also give them parents choice on what is the best option to send their child, I think if we can do that it’s not going to be the only solution, but I think it’s 10% to 20% of solving the problem in Alabama.”

Ainsworth also discussed some of the other things lawmakers need to consider to raise Alabama’s educational standards.

“Continue to encourage people to do into education,” he said.  “Having better pay to attract more teachers is something we really need to continue to look at. Another interesting thing that I haven’t heard anybody talk about really for the most part … is that a lot of our students, especially in these poorer counties, the number one issues these students face … is they’re hungry, and they go home hungry, so I think we’ve really got to address the situation of how do we make sure these students have proper nutrition.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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