'Bama Tax Credit Surprise: Status Quo Blindsided by Win for Needy Kids

A few years ago, a great movie called The Blind Side was released, portraying the real-life story of a poor, homeless young man who thrived on the football field under the care of an adopted family. Michael Oher went on to be a college All-American and last month a Super Bowl champion offensive tackle as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

It was good news not from Baltimore, but from the home of the college football national champions, that truly blindsided many observers last week. Seemingly out of nowhere, Alabama legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill that included the adoption of tax credits for donating to scholarships that free kids from failing schools:

“I truly believe this is historic education reform and it will benefit students and families across Alabama regardless of their income and regardless of where they live,” said Governor [Robert] Bentley said in a press conference Thursday night. “I’m so proud we have done this for the children of this state and especially the children who are in failing school systems and had no way out. Now, they have a way out.”

The bill passed by a vote of 22-11 in the state Senate and 51-26 in the state House. The Governor is expected to sign the bill next and it will be Alabama’s first school choice program.

The state’s first school choice program? That wonderful news has sacked the status quo QB from the blind side! Ready to smile? Alabama now has a chance to be known not only as the home of the last four NCAA football championship teams (3 to the Crimson Tide, 1 to the Auburn Tigers) but also for providing breakthrough momentum to the national cause of school choice!

A signature from Governor Bentley will make Alabama the 12th state to adopt K-12 scholarship tax credits, provided another state doesn’t sneak in and beat them to it! Many states — including Texas, Montana, and North Carolina — are giving serious consideration to programs that would enable them to join the ranks as well.

Which probably had something to do with prompting attacks against the pro-opportunity policy from the Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss. Over at Education Next, the Cato Institute’s Jason Bedrick effectively shot down her arguments (Yes, school choice does help poor kids) and further rebuffed criticisms from Colorado’s own Kevin Welner. (I’ll stick with the sports analogies, and leave the sci-fi ones to the guys at Jay Greene’s blog.)

The time also is quickly approaching for a scholarship tax credit program in Colorado. You will be seeing more about it soon, I promise. No need to blindside anybody with that news. Instead, get ready now to help Colorado kids win!