We’re finally getting an education lottery! Wait, What?
I support having a lottery in Alabama. Alabama has been in need of a lottery for decades, but I am not in favor of a lottery bill that does not prioritize creating equity in education by earmarking funds for education. In my opinion Senate Bill 220 misses the point.
In 1986 the State of Florida authorized a lottery for the purpose of “enhancing public education in Florida.” In 1992 the State of Georgia authorized a lottery for the purpose of “enhancing education funding.” In 2003 the State of Tennessee authorized a lottery for the purpose of “generating funds for specific education programs in the state.”
Now, instead of considering a lottery bill for the purpose of enhancing education, making pre-k available to every child in the state, and funding college for deserving students. Alabama has decided to consider passing a lottery bill that simply adds money to the general fund.
According to a 2018 U.S. News report, the state of Alabama ranks 47th in education nationally. Alabama has needed to make a real commitment to education for decades. The time finally seems right to authorize a lottery in Alabama; it feels like we have the chance to give education a desperately needed shot in the arm. However, we seem determined to miss the opportunity to finally begin to level the playing field for minority and poor residents of this State.
My wife was a recipient of Georgia’s Hope Scholarship; a scholarship that allowed her to attend any state school tuition free for four years. For a brief moment it felt like we were preparing to put Alabama in a similar position to propel our youth into the future, but……