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African-American Leaders Question Charter Schools

90.3 WBHM | Birmingham -- Charter schools are being hotly debated in Alabama -- and in Mississippi, where opponents including African-American community leaders say charters will cause greater inequality in education and increased segregation in a state with a history of racial division. Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Southern Education Desk reporter, Annie Gilbertson, has that story.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says charter school legislation will pass in the 2012 legislative session. Bentley outlined his education priorities in his State of the State address last night. The head of the Alabama Education Association vehemently opposes bringing charter schools to Alabama, calling them experimental and untested. Proponents say the taxpayer-funded schools that operate outside some of the rules that affect public schools offer more flexibility and accountability.

Surveys show that many Alabamians don't know much about Charter Schools. in 2010, WBHM produced a series of reports and a call-in program on Charter Schools. You can listen to those stories here:

More | Charter Schools: 101

More | Charter Schools: Do They Work?

More | Charter Schools: Politics

More | Charter Schools: The Texas Example

Listen to the On The Line: Charter Schools call-in program and WBHM's Dan Carsen's interviews with controversial education reformer Michelle Rhee, who is in Alabama this year pushing charter schools and other reform efforts, and noted education historian and charter school critic Diane Ravitch.

~ Annie Gilbertson and Tanya Ott, February 23, 2012.

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