Democrats in Alabama are making it known they do not support one of the school choice bills currently being proposed in the Legislature.
Tuesday, the Alabama House Democrats posted a list of reasons why they are against the Parental Rights in Children’s Education (PRICE) Act, which would allow parents to get $6,000 in state tax dollars to put in an education savings account.
Stand up for Alabama Public Education and say NO to the PRICE Act. #education #ALLin4AL #ALLin4U #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/xd0dOQYGMa
— AL House Democrats (@ALHouseDems) May 9, 2023
State Rep. Ernie Yarbrough (R-Trinity) is sponsoring the bill in the House and discussed his disagreements with the Democrats on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”
“What the PRICE Act does is it puts parents hands on the financial steering wheel to make real choice or affect real change for their kids’ education,” Yarbrough said Tuesday. “Now is there a free marker aspect to that? Yes there is, but the reality is when you look at all these states that have passed real school choice across the country, only a small percentage of people have actually left public schools to take an alternative route.”
The lawmaker responded to the accusation that his bill would “defund public education.”
“So, it’s a scare tactic,” he said. “There’s discussions about putting a cap on the actual amount of dollars, giving the program a few years to actually see how it goes, but the estimation that it’s $600 million, I’ve seen emails that say it’s going to cost billions of dollars, it’s just simply not true. But what I think you’re seeing there is you’re seeing a monopoly worried about the potential of not having a monopoly.”
Yarbrough said Democrats are wrong by thinking there would be no accountability if the school choice bill is passed.
“That’s the biggest lie of all of it,” he said,” because when you look at the PRICE Act, Number one – Christian school and private schools that participate, they have to make their curriculum known to the parents before the parents even sign up. Number two, because it’s an ESA where the money is deposited into an education savings account, every transaction … at a click of a button every single transaction is traced … and it only goes to approved vendors and curriculum and all of that is vetted by parents.”
He also said the members on the other side of the aisle are being disingenuous when they argue that the PRICE Act wouldn’t have any “universal standards.”
“What they’re trying to get at there is they want testing,” he said. “Testing, testing testing. The problem with that is we’ve changed tests multiple times in Alabama and we’ve proven the fact that testing doesn’t work … We’ve been obsessed with testing and yet where are we? At the bottom because the fundamentals of education need to be focused on throughout the year and not putting teachers in a box to where they’re forced to have to teach to a test as opposed to focusing on the fundamentals of reading and writing and math.”
The PRICE Act advanced out of the Finance and Taxation Education Committee Wednesday.
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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