State Policy Network
Alabama Passes Universal School Choice 

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey enacted universal education freedom legislation—giving thousands of Alabama children access to more education opportunities. The CHOOSE Act allows for up to $7,000 in state funding per student in the form of a tax-credit Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)—or funds families can flexibility deploy to customize learning. 

Education Freedom: Giving Parents and Students More Education Options and Opportunity 

Schools across the country are failing to give students the tools they need to succeed in life. You see it everywhere—news of learning loss, chronic absenteeism, and declining NAEP reading scores.  

All Americans, regardless of background or political leanings, want to give children access to a quality education. Advancing policies that expand education freedom is one way to reach that goal. Programs like the CHOOSE Act empower parents with more education options for their children. With an ESA in hand, parents can pick the learning environment that is best suited for their child’s need and their family’s values—whether that’s private, public, homeschool or even a hybrid model.

Alabama Policy Institute Spearheads Effort to Advance CHOOSE Act in Yellowhammer State 

The Alabama Policy Institute, a nonprofit policy organization in Birmingham, played a significant role in advancing the CHOOSE Act. Through research, legislative testimony, and other outreach to lawmakers, Alabama Policy explained to policymakers and the public how Alabama’s families and the state overall would benefit from a universal choice program. And just a few weeks ago, the Institute hosted an Alabama Educational Freedom Day event in Montgomery, which included policymakers, advocates, and students from local charter school LEAD Academy.  

Stephanie Smith, president and CEO of the Alabama Policy Institute, reflected on what the CHOOSE Act means for the state: 

“I am so pleased to report that Alabama is the first state to pass a universal school choice bill in 2024! The Alabama Policy Institute, with the State Policy Network’s strong encouragement and support, led the coalition toward educational freedom in Alabama. We are so thankful for our partnership with SPN. Because of the passage of the CHOOSE Act, more families than ever before will have the opportunity to choose the best educational environment for their children—regardless of zip code or income.” 

The American Federation for Children, EdChoice, Yes. Every Kid., and ExcelinEd—in addition to many in-state coalition partners—were also fundamental in encouraging policymakers to bring education freedom to Alabama. 

Education Freedom Movement Rolls On: 10 States Now Have Universal School Choice Programs 

Alabama is now the 10th state to enact a universal education freedom program, with Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Utah having approved new (or expanding eligibility of existing) programs in recent years.  

SPN and its Network of state think tanks are working to advance education freedom in even more states, so more families can benefit from expanded education options.  

Related Reading:  

School Choice Supporters Gather at Alabama State House 
Alabama Policy Institute 

Governor Ivey Signs the CHOOSE Act into Law 
Office of the Governor: State of Alabama 

Everything You Need to Know About Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)  
State Policy Network  

Education Freedom in 2024: 5 States to Watch 
State Policy Network 

Organization: State Policy Network