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House passes “first grade readiness” bill

Under the law, students would either need to complete kindergarten or pass an assessment before first grade.

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The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would require students entering the first grade to either complete kindergarten or show first grade readiness through an assessment to be determined by the Board of Education.

Gov. Kay Ivey highlighted this priority during her state of the state address before the session began.

“It’s also past time we require our students to complete kindergarten,” Ivey said. “I call on you to adopt legislation to ensure our students are ready for the first grade. Our first grade teachers should be preparing those students for the second grade, not simply catching them up to be on a first-grade level.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Peblin Warren, D-Montgomery, caused some confusion in the House about whether the bill makes kindergarten mandatory.

But the bill, which has been amended and substituted multiple times, clearly outlines a process for determining developmental readiness in lieu of kindergarten. 

Under Ivey, Alabama has focused on providing greater access to Pre-K classrooms in a plan that Ivey calls “Strong Start, Strong Finish.”

Warren said it is here hope that requiring first-grade readiness will help improve educational outcomes in the state.

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

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