Across the Board May 2024: Key Takeaways from the ALBOE Meeting

Recapping important State Board of Education policy decisions for you

Here are our key takeaways from the May 9th State Board of Education meeting and work session – and what they mean for Alabama’s students. Governor Ivey, Belinda McRae, and Marie Manning were not in attendance.

Top 5 Takeaways

1. Modernizing Alabama’s School Funding Formula

The Board had a discussion about the growing support and momentum to modernize Alabama’s school funding formula, a top policy priority for A+. Dr. Mackey explained Alabama’s current funding formula and the potential for a new funding formula based on students’ needs. 

The House and the Senate passed joint resolutions declaring that the Legislature would study what it would take for Alabama to move from a resource-based funding formula to a more modern student-weighted funding formula. The Foundation Program, Alabama’s current formula, is a resource-based funding formula over 30 years old and inflexible, inadequate, and inequitable. Alabama is one of six states that still use this type of formula. It’s time to modernize and move to a student-weighted funding formula. If you would like to learn more, please check out the resources from Every Child Alabama Coalition (click here) and the Every Dollar Counts Learning Series (click here).   

2. Adoption of new Administrative Code on Educator Prep Program Alignment to the Science of Reading

The Board unanimously voted on the final adoption of a new administrative code rule updating the standards for preparing educators to teach reading. The standards will require educator preparation programs to align their courses to the science of reading in early childhood education, early childhood special education, elementary education, and collaborative special education. Coursework in these programs will be required to include phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics and word recognition, automatic-fluent reading of text, vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension, written expression, and knowledge of dyslexia and other reading profiles. The new standards must be implemented in pre-service teacher coursework by August 2024. The rule also prohibits the use of three-cueing in both educator prep programs and in K-12 public schools. To learn more about the science of reading, check out the A+ Policy Portal, linked here.

Teachers must be fully prepared to teach students how to read on their first day in the classroom. The Board setting new standards aligned to the science of reading, outlining what teacher candidates need to know before entering the classroom, and prohibiting the use of three-cueing in higher ed and in K-12 schools will improve instruction for the youngest students in the state for years to come.

3. Adoption of New Principal Leadership Standards

The Board unanimously voted on the final adoption of a new administrative code rule updating the standards for principal leadership. The Alabama School Principal Leadership and Mentorship Act, passed in 2023, is a comprehensive strategy to strengthen Alabama’s principal pipeline. The legislation created the Principal Design Team, which is the group of superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and policy experts who will design the Principal Leadership Development System and the Principal Mentor Program. One of their first tasks was to update these standards, which had not been updated since 2006.

Through this new legislation, principals can receive a stipend of $10,000 ($15,000 in hard-to-staff schools) and assistant principals can receive $5,000 ($7,500 for hard-to-staff) per year if they successfully complete the following: 

Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, create a professional learning plan every year to be implemented the following school year.

Beginning in the 2024-25 school year, complete five additional days of approved high-quality professional learning aligned as a part of the professional learning plan. 

In the 2024-25 school year, new principals will begin working with a principal mentor for two years. 

Participate in the new evaluation system by 2027-2028

Complete a new year-long leadership academy by 2029-2030.

Principals are responsible for a wide range of factors that influence student achievement and can greatly impact the success of students and teachers in their schools. It’s critical that we recruit, develop, and retain our high-impact principals and assistant principals.

4. Alabama Numeracy Act

The Board discussed its intent to adopt four new administrative code changes related to improving math achievement through the implementation of the Alabama Numeracy Act. The board is working to accomplish two main actions through these changes. 

First, the board needs to adopt a new administrative code outlining the four courses for the mathematics coaching endorsement that educator prep programs could potentially offer. This prompted a discussion about the challenges of preparing teacher candidates to teach math effectively and the need to combine both content and pedagogy into the same courses for teacher candidates. Dr. Mackey explained that, currently, many teacher candidates are receiving math content courses through math departments, instead of education departments, and are learning how to do math, but not necessarily how to teach math. He also explained that this will require significant shifts in our educator prep programs. 

Second, the board will need to adopt a new administrative code outlining the standards for the new Foundations of Mathematics test, which will be the new teacher certification assessment required by the Alabama Numeracy Act. This reflects a similar change required by the Alabama Literacy Act, which requires teacher candidates to pass the Foundations of Reading test to ensure they know how to teach reading. The Foundations of Reading test was found to be better aligned with the science of reading. While the Foundations of Reading test already exists, the Foundations of Math test will need to be created, and the ALSDE is working to develop an RFP to select a vendor to begin its development. 

The Alabama Numeracy Act requires the ALSDE to adopt these code changes by the end of June 2024, which is why there is both an emergency and a permanent code change. If they decide to move forward, the SBOE would adopt the emergency code change in June, announce their intent to adopt the permanent code changes in June, have a 45-day public comment period, and then vote to fully adopt both permanent code changes in August.  

5. Computer Science

During their Work Session, the State Board discussed the intent to adopt an amended code rule that would make computer science a graduation requirement. Since the passage of the Computer Science law in 2019, Alabama has become a national leader in computer science education and has made significant progress in expanding access to students., a national non-profit working to expand access to computer science, names ten policies to make computer science foundational and Alabama is one of 10 states that meet nine out of ten of the requirements.’s final policy recommendation is making computer science a graduation requirement. To learn more about Alabama’s progress on computer science, click here.

The new code adds “Completing an ALSDE-approved computer science course” to the list of College and Career Readiness (CCR) Indicators immediately. This makes completing a computer science course equal to other CCR indicators like completing a dual enrollment course, credential, or a qualifying score on an AP exam. Earning at least one CCR indicator becomes a graduation requirement in 2025-2026. Additionally, it makes earning one unit of computer science OR completion of a course with embedded computer science skills or experiences a graduation requirement for freshmen entering high school in 2028-29 (graduating in 2032). The code change also confirms that each computer science credit earned shall count as a college and career readiness indicator and shall count as fulfilling one (1) mathematics (excluding Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II), science (excluding Biology and one Physical Science), career and technical education, or elective credit, as determined by the local superintendent of education. To read the proposed code change, click here.

If they decide to move forward, the State Board would announce their intent to adopt this code change in June, have a 45 day public comment period, and then vote to fully adopt it in August 2024.

To see the full May Board Meeting and Work Session agendas, click here

The Alabama State Board of Education usually meets on the second Thursday of each month, with the exception of the July meeting, 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.