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This week on WBHM we're exploring Charter Schools -- how they operate, whether they're effective, and what political forces shape the debate over legalizing charter schools in Alabama. Friday (3/12) at noon on WBHM we discuss all this and more during On The Line: Charter Schools.

Join the conversation by calling 1-800-444-9246 during the program or emailing your comment or question to news@wbhm.org.

David Stout is Public Relations Manager for the Alabama Education Association and the managing editor of the Alabama School Journal, which is circulated to AEA's 105,000 members, legislators, school boards, and uperintendents. Since he became editor of the Alabama School Journal, the publication has earned numerous national newspaper and public relations awards from education peers across the nation. This year he received the prestigious NEA Public Relations Council of the States Public Relations Person of the Year.

Stout was twice elected to the State House of Representatives and subsequently was elected Mayor of Fort Payne for four consecutive terms before he joined the AEA staff in 1997. He is a former weekly newspaper owner and taught history in both high school and junior college. He received his undergraduate degree from Jacksonville State University and his master's degree from the University of Alabama.

Gary Palmer is the president and co-founder of the Alabama Policy Institute, a research and education organization whose purpose is to identify, develop and promote sound public policies that emphasize a limited government, free markets and competition, the rule of law and the preservation of healthy families. Palmer is responsible for setting the strategic vision for the organization and managing its overall operations.

Palmer was appointed by Governor Bob Riley to the Governor's Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families. Prior to that he served as an advisor to the Alabama Aerospace, Science and Industry Task Force and served on the Governor's Welfare Reform Commission during the James Administration. He is a founding director of the State Policy Network, the professional service organization for America's state-based, free market think tanks and he served on the SPN board of directors for six years, the last two as president. Palmer was awarded the Roe Award, named in honor of the late Tom Roe who was so instrumental in the founding of state-based think tanks. The Roe Award recognizes effective think tank leadership, innovation, and accomplishment and pays tribute to those in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced freedom.

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~ March 12, 2010