Charter school bill becomes law, Alabama ranks poorly on welfare reform and Mobile Aerofest

Mar 20, 2015

Ret. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Dave Glassman, President of Aerofest

A bill to establish charter schools in Alabama was signed into law yesterday by Governor Bentley.

The Alabama Legislature gave its final approval to the bill on Wednesday after several hours of contentious debate in the House of Representatives.

Republicans call the bill a session priority, saying that the schools will spark innovation and provide education choices for families.

Opponents argue the new schools will drain education resources and criticize the potential involvement of for-profit companies in certain school operations.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that have freedom from some of the regulations placed on other public schools.

Alabama is one of eight states that do not currently allow public charter schools.

There is not a clear timetable in place yet for the implementation of this law.

A new report card is in for states across the country when it comes to welfare reform, and Alabama failed.

The Heartland Institute’s 2015 Welfare Reform Report Card gave the Yellowhammer State received an “F” for its policies. The study grades five policies which are key to the goal of welfare. They are work requirements, temporary cash payments for the poor, how long it takes to get things done, and penalties when they’re not.

While they received a perfect score for the work requirements, Alabama received a zero in Cash Diversion and 40 out of 100 in sanctions. The state earned a “C” in service integration and a “D” in time limits.

The study is part of a reform measure signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1996. The goal is to end national entitlement to welfare for families with dependent children.

Only Georgia, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont received worse scores than Alabama.

A brand new festival honoring veterans gets underway today in Mobile.

The first annual Aerofest will be combining several events into one major festival. The Arts Alive event and L-A Gumbo Festival will be joining Aerofest along with music and televised mixed martial arts bouts.

Dave Glassman is a retired Lieutenant Colonial in the U.S. Marines and President of Aerofest. He says along with all of the festivities, there will be some opportunities to help veterans.

“An expo that will have an education and career fair as well as an invitation to many of the state of the art technology companies from across the country coming in and demonstrating adapted sporting equipment and mobility devices that they are bringing and offering really exceptional opportunities to our veterans.”

Glassman says they are expecting around thirty thousand people to attend the non-profit festival. The gates open at eleven both today and tomorrow; two-day tickets will be required to get in on Saturday.

Senate lawmakers want a new governing board to oversee the Alabama's two-year college system.

Senators approved a bill creating that board yesterday on a 27-5 vote. The bill now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

If the bill passes, oversight of the community college system would be taken away from the elected state school board and put in the hands of a new board appointed by the governor.

Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Montrose said the two-year college system would be better served by a board focused only on the needs of that system.

Opposed lawmakers said the two-year college system should be controlled by an elected board, not one appointed by the governor.

State school board members also oppose the change.