SOS vouchers a bad idea
The Student Opportunity Scholarship Program (SOS), a school choice initative, has been introduced into the Alabama legislature by Senator Bill Armistead. The SOS program would create a voucher system by which state scholarship funds would enable students in under-performing public schools to transfer to another public school, a private school, a parochial school, a church school, a "home school," or a private tutor program.
Since the term "home school" does not appear elsewhere in Alabama law as an option for complying with the compulsory attendance requirements, it is uncertain what the legislative intent is or what the effect of this legislation would be. Further, one of the requirements of a church school under current Alabama law is that the school not receive any state or federal funding, if a church school accepted state funds under this new law, that school's legal status could be compromised or destroyed. Since the vast majority of parents teaching their children at home in Alabama do so through enrollment in church schools, the disqualification of church schools could have a far-reaching impact.
Home School Legal Defense Association opposes all forms of voucher programs, because taking government money inevitably brings government restrictions. We believe home educators and church school administrators in Alabama should contact their legislators and voice their opposition to this bill. — Dewitt T. Black