“The public schools deserve our greatest respect, and not just for their heroic efforts to educate our children. It was, for many years, one of the few ladders of economic opportunity for African Americans.
“But public education is not a system of buildings or employees—it’s a goal, an ideal. Despite the best efforts of everyone—teachers, parents, principals—some children will not fit well with their assigned school. Low income parents must be empowered to find the environment in which their children will succeed.
“Parents with means always have choices. They move to neighborhoods for their public schools. Or they pay for an alternative. Only those without means lack choices.
“Many districts are commendably creating alternatives, such as magnets and career academies. But given the challenges faced by low income families in Alabama, some children will best be served by private, even faith-based schools. …Already nearly forty Alabama private schools have volunteered to serve—and this is before serious outreach efforts. You will see many more step up. Why should low income families be denied this option?”
“This program is not in competition with the public schools. It is a part of public education. It helps fulfill public education’s promise of equal opportunity.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my civil rights efforts, it’s this–sometimes it’s hard to change the status quo.”
Click here to read the full op-ed written by Rev. H.K. Matthews on the Alabama Accountability Act.