In her State of the State Address this month, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that “passing an education savings account bill that works for families and for Alabama is my number one legislative priority.”

The Creating Hope and Opportunity for Our Students’ Education Act, or CHOOSE, would grant up to $7,000 per student toward an accredited private school or up to $2,000 per student toward eligible home-schooling expenses (capped at $4,000 per family) via a refundable state income tax credit. This would help offset the cost of qualifying educational expenses for families. Parents who participate would receive “an advance on their state income tax credit of up to $7,000 for each student enrolled in a participating school.”

This proposed Education Savings Account would allow families to allocate the funds toward a wide range of educational expenses, including tuition and fees, textbooks, tutoring, curriculum, online learning, standardized test fees, and educational services for students with disabilities.

If the legislation is passed, it will take effect beginning in the 2025-2026 school year. Eligibility would be extended for the first two years to families with an income up to 300% of the federal poverty level. The program would become universal in year three, meaning all Alabama students would be eligible.

The bill is sponsored by Alabama Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee Chairman Arthur Orr and state Rep. Danny Garrett. According to Mr. Garrett, “The CHOOSE Act will give hardworking parents a tool that has the potential to change the trajectory of their child’s educational future.”

State Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed voiced his support, stating, “A family’s ZIP code should not be the primary indicator of a child’s educational outcome, and we are committed to giving Alabama families the ability to make the best decisions regarding their children’s educations.”

The CHOOSE Act not only allows parents to exercise educational freedom for their K-12 children, but it also prioritizes public school teacher compensation. Ms. Ivey explained:

“My goal is to put us on a trajectory to make our program fully universal while also maintaining our full and total support of public education. At the end of the day, I believe the CHOOSE Act — packaged with providing our K-12 teachers the highest starting salaries among our neighboring states — will help our public schools become even stronger.”

House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter, who co-sponsored the bill with Mr. Reed, believes the CHOOSE Act would empower parents with educational options for their children while not hindering the state’s public education system.

The CHOOSE Act is the right step forward for Alabama as the current K-12 public school system is failing to effectively educate far too many students. According to WalletHub, public education in Alabama ranks 45th in the country for quality and 45th in student test scores.

Parents know and love their children most and can and must be trusted to select the education avenue that will provide high-quality learning that aligns with their values and best serves their children’s unique needs.

The days of trapping children in the one-size-fits-all, government-run, bureaucracy-riddled public education system monopoly controlled by the teachers unions could become a thing of the past for Alabama families. If the CHOOSE Act is passed, Alabama will join 10 other states — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia — that have enacted universal or near-universal school choice programs over the past two years.