Press Releases

Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin Urges Birmingham Board of Education to Reject Charter Schools

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                   Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Contact: Brittany Sharp

Phone: 205-721-5369

BIRMINGHAM, AL –Johnathan Austin, President of the Birmingham City Council, is calling on the Birmingham Board of Education (BBOE) to reject the charter school applications they will be considering at the BBOE meeting this evening. President Austin says a move like this could cause an even greater depth of problems to schools that are already struggling.

“I am blown away that anyone is considering stealing resources from our public schools just a few weeks after the state labeled our schools as failing. I don’t believe that our children are failing. If we open the door to charter schools, then we will be failing our children and this city,” President Austin said. “If anything, we should be working together to find additional dollars to invest in our children’s education as the Council did this budget cycle with a million dollar investment.”

“For decades, many of the most respected people in our communities have been educators,” President Austin continued. “We owe our students, our teachers, and our principals an unconditional vote of support. As elected leaders it is up to us to collectively identify and provide them with resources to ensure that they have all that they need to serve our children.”

President Austin cited recent reports, including one from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder that found that charter schools as a whole do not outperform traditional public schools.

“Look, let’s face the facts: charter schools are not about improving opportunities for the children of this City,” President Austin said. “It is a smoke screen to create a parallel school system for families who are connected to the powerful. We know what makes schools great: smaller class sizes, well-qualified and well-compensated teachers, involved parents, and community members. That should be our focus.”

President Austin is also encouraging citizens to attend tonight’s meeting, beginning at 5:30pm in the BBOE Administration building (2015 Park Place North, Birmingham, AL 35203).

“I am hopeful that Mayor Bell, other City Councilors, and faith and community leaders all across this City will stand up for our children, our teachers and our schools by saying no to charter schools and yes to great Birmingham City Schools.”

For media inquiries please contact Birmingham City Council Director of Public Information Brittany Sharp at 205.721.5369.