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Report recommends changes to Alabama’s education system

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(The Center Square) – Recommendations have been made to improve education at the student and educator levels in Alabama by the Governor’s Commission on Teaching and Learning.

The state should promote quality teaching and learning, offer more support for both impoverished and low-performing schools, bolster data collection and accountability, and improve the retention and development of educators, the report says.

“These recommendations won’t just serve as mere guidelines; they are a blueprint – a roadmap to our goal of positioning Alabama among the top 30 states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, which is known as the nation’s report card,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a release. “They are vital guidelines as we navigate toward a brighter future for our children – one where opportunities flourish and aspirations are nurtured.”

The commission recommended full implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act passed in 2019 which requires third graders to read on grade level before being advanced to fourth grade. It also recommended that kindergarten be mandatory, an expansion of the number of assistant principals at schools, and more computer science programs.

The commission said in the report that the state’s prekindergarten program should be expanded to help poorer school districts. It also recommended creating a financial incentive program for struggling school districts to reduce chronic absenteeism. Another key item from the commission was the expansion of the state’s Turnaround Schools program that pours personnel and money into struggling school districts to help them improve scores.

The commission said the state Board of Education should change the state’s report card for districts and individual schools to expand transparency and ensure that every graduating high school student is considered college and career ready measured by an examination.

The commission consisted of:

• Business Education Alliance President and former State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton.

• State Superintendent Eric Mackey.

• State Sen. Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva.

• State Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton.

• State Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile

• Montgomery City Schools Superintendent Melvin Brown.

• Wetumpka High School Principal Kyle Futral.

• Mountain Brook Schools Superintendent Dicky Barlow.

• Booker T. Washington teacher Reggie White.

• Alabama Parent Teacher Association President Donna McCurry.

• Alabaster City Schools School board member Derek Henderson.

• Retired Mississippi state Superintendent Carey Wright.

• Whiteboard Advisors CEO, and co-founder, Ben Wallerstein.

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