Alabama’s CHOOSE Act puts pressure on Georgia to pass school choice

While just a few days remain in Georgia’s 2024 legislative session, another neighboring state has passed expansive school choice legislation. 

Alabama has become the latest state to embrace school choice through the passage of the CHOOSE Act. This legislation, championed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, empowers families to select the educational environment that best suits their children’s needs. With the Senate’s approval on Wednesday, the bill  became law when it was signed by Ivey on Thursday, marking another significant milestone in the school choice movement.

The CHOOSE Act creates education savings accounts (ESAs), providing families with $7,000 to cover eligible education expenses, including private school tuition. This financial assistance aims to alleviate the financial burden on families while expanding access to a diverse range of educational options. 

Ivey lauded the passage of the CHOOSE Act as a “monumental achievement,” emphasizing the importance of prioritizing the needs of Alabama’s schoolchildren. “We want every Alabama student – whether they are at a public school, private school, magnet, charter or homeschool – the opportunity to receive a high quality education. I look forward to signing the CHOOSE Act into law.” 

As Alabama prepares to implement the CHOOSE Act, attention now turns to neighboring states, particularly Georgia, where similar discussions are underway in the legislature. Now, with Georgia nearly surrounded by states with universal school choice legislation, lawmakers face mounting pressure to act swiftly and decisively to ensure the state remains competitive in the field of education. While last year’s efforts came up short,  lawmakers have another chance at The Georgia Promise Scholarship Act this year.

As we have expressed at-length, the benefits of school choice are clear: by empowering families to select the educational environment that aligns with their values and objectives, states can foster innovation, competition and excellence. Moreover, by expanding access to high-quality educational options, school choice has the potential to narrow achievement gaps and promote greater opportunity for students.

In an increasingly competitive economy, states must prioritize educational excellence to ensure future prosperity and competition. By following nearby states and embracing school choice, Georgia can position itself as a competitive player in education. But the state is running out of time, and risks being behind the curve. As the CHOOSE Act  law in Alabama, the eyes of the nation are on Georgia. 

The time for action is now. 

By enacting similar legislation, Georgia can seize the opportunity to empower families and shape the future of education. The choice is clear: embrace innovation and progress or risk falling behind.

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