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Ivey signs four executive orders aimed at reaching education goals

Ivey pledged to have Alabama in the top 30 states in education rankings by the end of her term, and said these four orders will help to improve the educational outcomes needed to get there.

Gov. Kay Ivey Hal Yeager/Governor's Office

Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed four education-focused executive orders and issued a memo to the Department of Early Childhood Education. In her inaugural address Monday, Ivey stated that improving educational outcomes for Alabama’s students is her top priority, and pledged to have the state in the top 30 in numeracy and literacy by the end of her term. Ivey’s office said these orders will help make that possible. 

“I am proud to sign these executive orders into effect and believe they will lay an essential foundation for ensuring every Alabama student receives a high-quality education,” Ivey said. “This is the first of many steps I plan to take in this new term to increase Alabama’s national ranking in our students’ reading and math performance. Our children are our future, and by investing in their education, we are investing in a better Alabama.” 

Executive Order No. 729 will promote early literacy by establishing a statewide Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Network

Ivey announced the partnership with Dolly Parton’s program during her inaugural address. Ivey has authorized $4.1 million for the roll-out of the program, which will ensure every Alabamian will begin receiving age-appropriate books by mail each month after they are born until five years of age. Parents will have the right to opt their children out at any time.

Executive Order No. 730 establishes the Governor’s Commission on Teaching and Learning

The commission, which is comprised of a diverse group of subject matter experts, will examine ways to enhance the quality of elementary and secondary education in Alabama and will produce a report of recommendations by December 1, 2023.

Members of the commission include the following:

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  • Business Education Alliance President and former State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton (Chair)
  • State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey
  • State Sen. Donnie Chesteen, R-SD29
  • Rep. Alan Baker, R-HD66
  • Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-HD103
  • Montgomery City Schools Superintendent Dr. Melvin Brown
  • Holtville High School Principal Kyle Futral
  • Mountain Brook Schools Superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow
  • Booker T. Washington K-8 Teacher Reggie White
  • Alabama Parent Teacher Association President Donna McCurry
  • Alabaster City Schools Schoolboard Member Derek Henderson
  • Retired Mississippi State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright
  • Co-founder and CEO of Whiteboard Advisors Ben Wallerstein

 

During Ivey’s tenure, the state has launched several education-focused initiatives, such as the Literacy Act (2019), the Numeracy Act (2022), the Computer Science for Alabama Act (2019), a civics-test requirement (2017), and a requirement of the State Board of Education that every high school graduate obtain a college and career readiness indicator (2022).

Executive Order No. 731 directs the state superintendent of education to submit a report outlining past progress made to date as well as future action items to expeditiously ensure the implementation of the aforementioned initiatives. The reports are due June 30, 2023.

Executive Order No. 732 establishes a K-12 Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program to increase pathways to the teaching profession. This pilot program will provide an additional pathway—initially, in areas with documented teacher shortages—for qualifying paraprofessionals and teacher’s aides to obtain a Class A or Class B teaching certificate by demonstrating competency in the classroom.

The pilot program will be administered by the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship within the Department of Commerce.

Additionally, Ivey sent a memo to Secretary of Early Childhood Education Dr. Barbara Cooper that directs the department to prioritize creating new First-Class Pre-K classrooms in counties where more than 20 percent of the population falls below federal poverty guidelines. Ivey believes that increased access to the Pre-K program is vital to meeting the state’s goals.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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