Alabama GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville pleaded with lawmakers on the senate floor, addressing the dire need to fix the “failing” education system “nationwide.”
Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville made a plea for school choice on the Senate floor, sending a warning to schools who are “failing” U.S. students.
Tuberville, who had been an educator for more than 40 years, took to the Senate floor on Jan. 24 in support of school choice as he asked fellow lawmakers to consider how education has become a “national problem.” The Alabama senator emphasized the need for the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider proposed rules which would redefine the Charter School Program potentially stripping parents of their ability to choose a preferred school.
Tuberville stated that there needs to be recognition for “failing” schools nationwide, reflecting on his prior experience that once had limited choices but now are vastly different in today’s education world.
“When I first started in education 40 years ago, there was no opportunity for school choice. Homeschooling was very rare, but our government schools were in better shape back then. Homeschooling today is practically like attending a small school. Today, there are about two million kids being homeschooled across our country. Homeschooling is the fastest growing form of education in America,” Tuberville stated.
“It’s growing because parents recognize that our schools are failing our kids. It’s time for lawmakers across this country at every level, including us, to recognize that our schools are failing.”
Following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many public schools across the nation shut down their classrooms causing a ripple effect for various ages. While public schools have since been back in-person, studies have now shown that students are significantly struggling with foundational aspects, according to U.S. News.
Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics Peggy Carr stated that “many students” were not only “behind” a grade level in “core academic subjects” during the start of 2023, but that data is now suggesting the “recovery will take” an unknown amount of “time,” U.S. News reported.
“Many students were behind grade level at the start of the current academic year, including in core academic subjects like English and mathematics,” Carr told the outlet. “Both this school year and last school year, public school leaders estimated that about half of their students began the school year behind grade level in at least one academic subject. These data suggest that academic recovery will take time.”
Due to the pandemic and aftermath, many parents found issues with the public education system causing homeschool to shoot up in popularity within the U.S. by 51% within the past six years, according to the Washington Post. In addition to the rise of homeschooling, many parents have also taken a liking to private schools, with K-4th grade seeing a 3-9% increase in enrollment, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Tuberville continued to emphasize the need to fix the education system, stating that if lawmakers didn’t students would eventually live “off the government.”
“So at the end of the day, the key to unlock that opportunity is what? It’s education. If you can’t read and write in our country, in which we are struggling at almost every school, you can’t make it. You’re going to end up living off the government. And that’s not what this country is about,” Tuberville stated.
“If we don’t educate our kids, we won’t have much of a future, and it is really declined…It’s about basic American values, values of education for all, opportunity for all and letting our people live out their God-given potential. Not keeping it locked up, give everybody that opportunity.”