Please respond to the following important survey on the public education program established by the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA).

The Alabama Accountability Act was passed by the state legislature in February 2013, without any input from educators, to “help poor kids in failing schools” and was amended in 2015 to provide “school choice”. Neither of these objectives has been met. Rather, public education funds have been taken from public schools to send some students to private schools without any measurable increase in student performance.

The Act provides for the creation of non-profit Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) that provide scholarships for students to attend a private school using public education tax dollars. The Act established a profit-making industry for a few private sector individuals and organizations and to allow dollar for dollar tax credits for contributors to the program.  

Since all income taxes go to the state’s Education Trust Fund, the Act diverts taxes designated for public schools.  From 2013 through 2017, more than $100 million was diverted from public schools to private schools.

Research conducted by The University of Alabama found; “On average, over time, participating in the scholarship program was not associated with significant improvement on standardized tests scores.”

Based on this information, please respond to the following questions. (All responses are anonymous and only one response per email address is allowed.)

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* 1. Do you believe Alabama public schools are now adequately funded?

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* 2. Do you know of a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) established by the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA)?

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* 3. Have you contributed to an SGO?

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* 4. Do you know anyone who has contributed?

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* 5. Do you know any students who have received an AAA scholarship?

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* 6. Contributions to non-profits are treated as a charity donation that allows you to get a tax reduction for part of the contribution, while SGOs allow a dollar for dollar tax credit. If your income tax rate is 35% and you donate $1,000 to your favorite charity, you get a deduction of $350 or 35%. But if you donate $1,000 to an SGO, you get credit for paying $1,000 on your tax liability or 100%. Do you believe donations to an SGO should be treated in the same manner as other charitable donations?

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* 7. There is concern that scholarships are sometimes used to recruit athletes to private schools. If a private school gives AAA scholarships to athletes, should these schools be allowed to compete against public schools?

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* 8. Presently, non-accredited private schools can receive AAA scholarships before they are accredited. Should private schools be accredited before they can receive scholarships?

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* 9. There are 722,000 students in Alabama public schools and less than 4,000 on scholarships through the AAA. Do you think money should be diverted from public school students to give students in private schools scholarships?

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* 10. There have been discussions about repealing the Accountability Act. Do you think the Act it should be repealed, modified or left as is?

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* 11. The Code of Alabama says the state board of education “shall seek in every way to direct and develop public sentiment in support of public education.” With this being the case, do you believe this board should take a public stance regarding the diversion of $100 million from the Education Trust Fund?

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* 12. The Code of Alabama also says the state board of education shall recommend to the Governor and Legislature desired changes to existing laws. Given this authority, should the state board of education be actively involved in making necessary changes to AAA?

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* 13. The AAA identifies the bottom 6 percent of all public schools each year as “failing.” Should the bottom 6 percent of all private schools also be identified as “failing?”

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* 14. Even though the Accountability Act identifies “failing” schools, it does not provide extra resources to help them improve. Should these schools get additional resources?

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* 15. Five local school boards (Baldwin, Mobile, Montgomery, Randolph and Tallapoosa counties) have passed resolutions calling on the Legislature to repeal the Accountability Act. Would you support your local school board passing a resolution to call for the repeal of the AAA?

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* 16. If your local school board passed a resolution calling for repeal of the AAA, would that make you more or less likely to support repeal of the act?

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* 17. Do you believe the state of public education in Alabama is getting better, worse or staying the same?

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* 18. Do you believe Alabama public education in the future will get better, worse or stay the same?

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* 19. Are you a retired public school educator, a current teacher or a current Support employee?

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* 20. Do you have children or grandchildren in an Alabama public school?

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* 21. Do you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat or Independent?

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* 22. Consider that from Birmingham to the Tennessee state line is north Alabama. South of Birmingham to Montgomery is central Alabama and south of Montgomery to the Florida line or gulf is south Alabama. In which region do you live?

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* 23. What is your age?

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* 24. What is your race?

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* 25. What is your sex?

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