Gov. Kay Ivey made good on her promise to begin focusing immediately on education in Alabama.
Ivey signed four education-related executive orders Wednesday and also issued a memo to the Department of Early Childhood Education.
The orders will be just the beginning of the governor’s efforts to lead Alabama into the top 30 states for numeracy and literacy by the end of her final term, she said.
“I am proud to sign these executive orders into effect and believe they will lay an essential foundation for ensuring every Alabama student receives a high-quality education,” Ivey said. “This is the first of many steps I plan to take in this new term to increase Alabama’s national ranking in our students’ reading and math performance.
“Our children are our future, and by investing in their education, we are investing in a better Alabama.”
The executive orders are:
- Promoting Early Literacy by Establishing a Statewide Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Network: Ivey authorized $4.1 million for the rollout of the program, which will ensure every Alabamian will begin receiving age-appropriate books by mail each month after they are born until age 5. Parents will have the right to opt their children out at any time.
- Establishing the Governor’s Commission on Teaching and Learning: The commission, which is comprised of a diverse group of subject matter experts, will examine ways to enhance the quality of elementary and secondary education in Alabama and will produce a report of recommendations by Dec. 1. The commission members are: Business Education Alliance President and former State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton (Chair); State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey; State Sen. Donnie Chesteen; Rep. Alan Baker; Rep. Barbara Drummond; Montgomery City Schools Superintendent Dr. Melvin Brown; Holtville High School Principal Kyle Futral; Mountain Brook Schools Superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow; Booker T. Washington K-8 teacher Reggie White; Alabama Parent Teacher Association President Donna McCurry; Alabaster City Schools School Board member Derek Henderson; retired Mississippi State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright; and co-founder and CEO of Whiteboard Advisors Ben Wallerstein.
- Ensuring Progress Toward Full Implementation of Vital Education Initiatives: During Ivey’s tenure in office, the state launched several education-focused initiatives, such as the Literacy Act (2019), the Numeracy Act (2022), the Computer Science for Alabama Act (2019), a civics-test requirement (2017), and a requirement of the State Board of Education every high school graduate obtain a college and career readiness indicator (2022).
- The State Superintendent of Education must submit a report outlining progress made to date as well as future action items to expeditiously ensure the implementation of the aforementioned initiatives. The reports are due June 30, 2023.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.