Recapping important State Board of Education policy decisions for you
Here are our key takeaways from the April 13th State Board of Education meeting and work session – and what they mean for Alabama’s students.
Top 5 Key Takeaways
1. College and University Requirements: At the January work session, the Board discussed a code change that would change the faculty requirements for traditional CAEP-accredited educator preparation programs to match the faculty requirements for alternative teacher preparation organizations. The Board adopted the amended code change, with all members voting in favor of the change except Mrs. Stephanie Bell (District 3).
2. Conversation with State Senate Leaders: President Pro Tempore Senator Greg Reed and Minority Leader Senator Bobby Singleton joined the Board during the work session as part of a continued effort for the Board and Legislature to work better together. This follows the February meeting where the Board met with House leaders – read our recap of that here.
Sen. Reed spoke about how education in the state has been a recruitment issue for businesses. He mentioned that many legislators were eager to act on education this session, but that he encouraged them to wait until there is more data on the implementation of the Alabama Literacy and Numeracy Acts, saying, “Let’s not change the game just to be doing something.”
Sen. Reed also said the legislature is interested in supporting principal development through increased professional learning and higher pay.
Echoing previous conversations that the Board has had with Legislators, Sen. Singleton asked for a comprehensive plan to improve education in the state, especially for failing schools. He also referenced that a lack of this plan has led to the Legislature taking action instead.
During Board member questions, new Board member Mrs. Manning reiterated that Legislators have mentioned the need for a plan from the Board multiple times and asked if the Board should be prepared to act on failing schools. Dr. Chestnut asked when they could have a presentation on the plan, and ALSDE staff said they would present in May.
3. Proposed ESSA Amendment: ALSDE staff presented on the proposed amendments to Alabama’s ESSA plan (every state is required to have a plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act). The Board is not required to vote on the ESSA amendment, but the amendments are required to be presented to the public and public comment period opened (comments on the ESSA amendment can be made here through May 15, 2023). In 2022, the state made an addendum to its ESSA plan. As part of the addendum’s approval, the state is required to make the following amendments:
- Exit Criteria Timeline: Amended to provide the Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) Schools that do not meet the exit criteria, one additional year of Continuous Improvement Plan implementation and one additional year to meet the exit criteria prior to advancing to Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) School status. Amended to provide the CSI Schools two additional years of Continuous Improvement Plan implementation and two years to meet the exit criteria prior to advancing to the next improvement status (CSI-Retained).
- Exit Criteria for CSI Schools: Amended to no longer include the required two consecutive years of improvement, instead to require the school to show improvement as to when originally identified.
- Exit Criteria for ATSI Schools: Amended to no longer include the required two consecutive years of improvement, instead to require the subgroup that led to the school’s identification to show improvement as to when the subgroup was identified as in need of targeted support.
4. Passing Praxis Scores for Initial Certification and Program Admission: The Board discussed a resolution that would discontinue certain Praxis subject assessments and replace them with new Praxis assessments. These assessments are required for initial certification for educators. ETS, the company that owns the Praxis, regularly updates assessments, and the Board resolution will adopt the updated assessments. The new tests will be effective September 1, 2023. Click here to see the resolution, which includes which tests are being replaced and what the new passing score requirements will be.
5. Board Questions – The Alabama Accountability Act: Dr. Mackey was asked by Board members about the Accountability Act and the requirement that the bottom 6% of all schools be considered failing. Rep. A.J. McCampbell introduced a bill this session, HB30, that would change the designation “failing schools” in the Alabama Accountability Act to simply “lowest sixth percent school.” That bill passed the House on Tuesday, April 18th and now goes to the Senate.
To see the full April Board Meeting and Work Session agendas, click here.
The Alabama State Board of Education usually meets on the second Thursday of each month to discuss important policies, procedures, and changes for Alabama’s K-12 public schools. The Board takes official action during their monthly meeting and then follows up with a Work Session to get updates and discuss future action that will be voted on at the next board meeting. You can watch them live and see old meetings here.
Contact Your Board Member:
Have feedback on any of the above items – or anything else? Contact your state school board member using the resources below:
-To contact your State Board of Education Member, click here.
-To find out which district you live and/or teach in, click here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your address in the “Polling Place Search” box. Once entered, it will take you to a page that shows your polling place and the districts you live in.
-To view a map of the state school board districts, click here.