The 2022 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature officially began on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. As mandated by the Alabama Constitution, Governor Kay Ivey outlined her priorities for the session in her State of the State Address on the first evening of the session to an audience of lawmakers and state leaders in the Old House Chamber of the Alabama State Capitol. You can read the full speech here or watch the speech here.
Governor Ivey reiterated her strong commitment to improving Alabama’s education system, saying “As a former civics teacher, I say that the single most important issue here in Alabama and in our nation is our children’s education.”
“Folks, if we do not give our best to make meaningful changes to our education system, we will hurt the future of this state. And most importantly, we will hurt our most promising and precious resources – our students,” she continued.
Here are the education highlights from her speech:
- Implement the Alabama Literacy Act: Governor Ivey highlighted the importance of Alabama students being proficient readers by the end of third grade, and pushed for full implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act after the collection of spring assessment data in 2022, saying “After we collect useful data during this upcoming spring semester, implementing the Alabama Literacy Act will be a must.” She has previously stated her support for a one-year delay of the promotion component of the Alabama Literacy Act, which is scheduled to begin in spring 2022.
- Improving Math and Science Education: She expressed her support for the creation of a math task force to create a comprehensive strategy for addressing Alabama’s math crisis. In addition, she proposed additional funding for recruiting and retaining math and science teachers, which aligns with her support of the TEAMS Act that passed in 2021 and provides higher salaries for STEM teachers in grades 6-12.
- 4% Pay Raise to Teachers: Governor Ivey proposed a 4% pay raise for teachers and recognized the tremendous challenges educators have faced over the past two years.
- Closing the Learning Gap with Community-Based Afterschool Programs: Last year in her address, Governor Ivey called for local school districts to partner with community-based organizations to close the learning gap with high-quality summer and afterschool programs that will give students the support they need to catch up. The governor reiterated her strong support for these programs, saying, “I am proud to propose funding for afterschool programs I know will go a long way in getting our students on track for success.”
- New Grant Program for Failing Elementary Schools: Governor Ivey laid out a new commitment to improve early education in Alabama and challenged the state to “no longer accept the existence of a failing elementary school.” She proposed a new grant program to support failing elementary schools with customized and innovative interventions and urged leaders to “find new ways to address old problems.”
- School-Based Mental Health: She shared her commitment to supporting the needs of all students by providing more resources for student mental health and autism therapy. Additionally, she is proposing a $12 million investment for two new mental health crisis centers in the state.
- Expanding First Class Pre-K: Governor Ivey reiterated her commitment to continue expanding Alabama’s nationally-recognized First Class Pre-K program.
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