6 months ago

Ivey touts importance of early childhood education

Nearly 3,000 early childhood education professionals began convening in Mobile Thursday morning for the annual Alabama Early Childhood Education Conference, with Governor Kay Ivey kicking off two days of training sessions at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center.

Speaking to the assembled teachers, administrators and providers from Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program, First Teacher Home Visiting program, participants in the state’s P-3 leadership program and other state initiatives serving children and their families from birth through the third grade, Ivey reaffirmed her staunch support for this initial stage of education, while outlining how it fits into her comprehensive education plan.

Ivey began her remarks by thanking and praising Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Jeana Ross “for the incredible leadership” she provides to the department and the people Alabama.

“Your efforts and the hard work of our early childhood professionals here today are why Alabama is successful in providing students a strong start to their learning journeys,” the governor said.

Looking around at the group of education professionals in the crowd, Ivey remarked that “Alabama’s children are in great hands.”

She transitioned into speaking on the tremendous responsibility early childhood educators have.

“You are launching Alabama’s youngest citizens into their futures, which in turn, means that you are securing the future of our state,” Ivey remarked.

She continued, “With every beginning, lies the time for opportunity, and it is during that time, we are given our greatest chance for growth.”

After calling early childhood education “a ticket to success,” she ticked off some of the conclusions that research has shown regarding child development before age five, echoing her Early Childhood Education Leadership Forum presentation from the fall.

“Ensuring our students have a seamless learning journey is at the forefront of my vision for Alabama,” Ivey added. “As a former educator, I am very proud to say that I have devoted much of my time as governor focusing on education.”

She referred to her “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative, explaining that, “A productive educational journey must begin with a strong foundation.”

The governor advised, “And equipping our students with the proper skills and education to fill high-demands jobs will be essential to ensure their strong finish. All three phases of Strong Start, Strong Finish are important to prepare our students to enter the workforce, but this morning our focus is on the first phase: Pre Through Three.”

Ivey then launched into praise of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program. An exciting new study released last month concluded that students who participate in this program are more likely to be proficient in math and reading. Researchers also found that their work indicated “no evidence of fade out of the benefits of First Class Pre-K over time.”

“For 12 consecutive years, Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program has been recognized for being the highest quality Pre-K in the nation. In fact, our First Class Pre-K officially broke the 1,000 classroom mark this school year,” Ivey lauded.

She added, “Clearly, our students are making significant gains through our high-quality pre-K program, however, now our challenge is to continue building on that success. I assure you that the Ivey Administration is rising to that challenge.”

Ivey reaffirmed her commitment to education funding, also outlining some of the other programs in the works.

“A child’s education does not begin and end in Pre-K. The standard of excellence we have in our First Class Pre-K program is focused on all areas of early childhood education,” Ivey said. “Currently, only 35 percent of Alabama’s third graders are proficient, grade-level readers. Putting a greater emphasis on those early years will help solve this problem and help our students reach this important milestone.”

“To ensure that all of our state’s third graders are proficient readers by 2022, I created the Alabama Grade-Level Reading Campaign. From encouraging our parents to be good first teachers to reducing the effects poverty has on our students’ health and learning outcomes, the Grade-Level Reading Campaign will help more of Alabama’s children achieve success. And just as they continue to build on their success, so must we,” the governor outlined.

As the legislative organizational session and Ivey’s inauguration quickly approaches, the governor emphasized that “our efforts in early childhood education are putting us in position to be the model of the nation.”

“Since day one, I have made education a top priority of mine, and that will not change moving forward,” Ivey emphasized. “I will continue to champion for you, for early childhood education and for all students across Alabama!”

The Alabama Early Childhood Education Conference is one of the largest early childhood gatherings in the nation. Each year, this conference features numerous national speakers, authors, and entertainers. Sessions seek to prepare attendees with new, age-appropriate, child-focused teaching strategies to support children and their families. The conference is part of the 30-plus required hours of professional development that Yellowhammer State early childhood professionals receive each year.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

University of North Alabama adopting new tuition plan

The University of North Alabama is switching to a tuition plan that officials say will result in increased costs for some students but not others.

Officials at the school in Florence say they are reducing the total number of student fees from seven to one, and fees will be included in the overall tuition cost.

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A statement says students taking 15 hours will see a maximum increase in expenses of 4.1%.

But some could pay less, and costs will not change for others.

School officials say a lag in state funding is a continuing problem.

North Alabama’s vice president for business, Evan Thornton, says the school has deferred maintenance and capital needs totaling more than $160 million.

The school has an undergraduate enrollment of about 6,200 students.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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12 hours ago

Nathan Lindsay joining governor’s office from BCA

Another high profile staffer from the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is joining Governor Kay Ivey’s senior level team.

The governor on Monday announced that Nathan Lindsay will join her office as director of appointments effective July 1.

This position is charged with spearheading the meticulous work that goes into Ivey meeting her duty to appoint qualified, representative and appropriate people to positions on the state’s various boards and commissions.

A press release from the governor’s office outlined that Lindsay assumes the role with an extensive background in state government and the private sector, which uniquely qualifies him to advise the governor in this capacity.

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Most recently, through his work in political and governmental affairs at the BCA, Lindsay interacted with members of the business community throughout the Yellowhammer State, which significantly adds to his ability to identify and select candidates for various appointed posts.

Additionally, Lindsay’s early career included time in then-Governor Bob Riley’s office where he served as aide to the governor from 2006 to 2011. Lindsay also worked in the governor’s communications office as deputy press secretary and advised Riley on education policy.

“Nathan brings to our team a wealth of knowledge that I know will serve the state well,” Ivey said in a statement. “In addition to his expertise and insight, Nathan is a man of character. The men and women of my staff must have a strong work ethic, a depth of knowledge and a heart for public service. Nathan certainly embodies all of these characteristics.”

Lindsay earned his bachelor’s degree from Faulkner University. During his time at Faulkner, he served as SGA president and later, in 2018, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“As governor, I have the important responsibility of appointing qualified individuals to serve on the more than 450 boards and commissions in our state. These men and women must not only be highly-qualified, but they should also be a true reflection of our great state,” Ivey added. “I am confident we will continue to find the best people to serve our state, just as I am certain Nathan will serve my Administration exceptionally well in this position. His experience speaks for itself, and he shares my goal of moving Alabama into a better future.”

This comes weeks after Leah Garner departed BCA to become Ivey’s communications director.

Mark Colson also left BCA to become head of the Alabama Trucking Association recently.

Update 5:55 p.m.:

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt released a statement commending Ivey on the hire of Lindsay.

“Nathan’s background and expertise in political affairs combined with his political acumen uniquely qualify him to serve the governor and the state in this capacity,” Britt said. “I have no doubt Nathan will do an outstanding job, and I commend Governor Kay Ivey on this excellent addition to her staff.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

12 hours ago

Alabama listed as one of the top 20 most patriotic states in America

A WalletHub report released Monday revealed Alabama to be on of the top 20 most patriotic states in America.

Ranked 19 overall on the list, with a score of 47.43, Alabama ranked first for the “Civics Education Requirement.”

The report “compared the 50 states across 13 key indicators of patriotism” and “ranges from share of enlisted military population to share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election to AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.”

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With one as “Most Patriotic” and 25 as “Average,” Alabama received the following rankings:

  • 5th – Average Number of Military Enlistees per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 30th – Active-Duty Military Personnel per 100,000 Civilian Adults
  • 17th – Veterans per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 1st – Civics Education Requirement
  • 12th – Share of Civilian Adult Population in Military Reserves
  • 10th – Share of Adults Who Voted in 2016 Primary Elections

Alabama also ranked eight overall for ‘Military Engagement.’

The report, which compared red states to blue states in terms of patriotism, found that red states were more patriotic. Red states received an average rank of 23.67, while blue states received an average rank of 28.25.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

13 hours ago

Brooks: ‘Really dumb’ for Democrats to elect candidates mainly on ‘skin pigmentation or their chromosomes’

In an interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show”on Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) lamented that many Democrats have become more interested in racial and gender identity politics than the welfare of America.

Coming off of her much maligned comments comparing American immigration facilities to “concentration camps,” host Dale Jackson asked the north Alabama congressman if he believes that Democrats in Congress will allow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to continue to serve as their “de facto face and leader.”

“Yes,” Brooks answered succinctly, promoting a follow-up request for his reasoning.

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“Well, she is where she is,” Brooks explained. “She’s got a lot of political power. She’s got a lot of support — surprisingly.”

“There are large, large numbers of American citizens who have bit off on this socialist stuff, who have bit off on this victimization stuff, who have bit off on thinking that the most important criteria in determining whether to elect someone is their skin pigmentation or their chromosomes — which is really dumb, OK,” he continued. “We oughta be electing people based on their character and based on their public policy positions.”

“But, notwithstanding that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the face of the Democratic Party in many different respects, and she does have great influence as evidenced by the presidential candidates on the socialist Democrats’ side who are trying to cultivate her support,” Brooks added. “They want her endorsement.”

Listen, starting at the 8:25 mark:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

Democrats hope it’s 2017 all over again, Republicans just want the nightmare to end

In 2017, Roy Moore won a Republican primary run-off against an extremely flawed Luther Strange. Strange wasn’t just a regular candidate — he had the cloud of his appointment, and he was dogged by former Gov. Robert Bentley’s investigation, impeachment and resignation.

Alabama Republicans, outside of U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), were reluctant to criticize Roy Moore because they knew doing so would hand the Senate seat to now-Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

But this is different.

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State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) told the Montgomery Advertiser that he blamed the GOP establishment in 2017, but still thinks Moore can’t win in 2020.

He stated, “I do not believe, with the numbers I look at, that Roy Moore at the end of the day can get the nomination.”

State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) dismissed Moore when asked about the candidates, saying, “If you look at the candidates, you got Roy Moore. I don’t think we need to say more there.”

Later, he all but endorsed U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) by saying Byrne “would do the best job.”

Secretary of State John Merrill, a potential future Moore opponent, believes Moore has an uphill battle against Jones.

“I think it would be extraordinarily difficult for Judge Moore to be successful in a general election campaign against Senator Jones,” Merrill outlined.

He added, “I also think it would be difficult for Judge Moore to secure the Republican nomination.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who endorsed Moore in 2017, has already endorsed State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and is on record saying former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions would be a favorite.

“I do believe that Jeff Sessions would clearly be number one in the poll rankings, based on his having been such a great senator on three principle issues: free enterprise versus socialism; deficit and debt; and border security,” he explained.

Say what you will, but you do not usually see these kinds of pronouncements from Republicans in the middle of a primary.

Democrats hope 2017 is going to be repeated in 2020, but there are many different factors that will matter.

Roy Moore is already fatally flawed as 300,000+ Republicans voters abandoned him in 2017 and stayed home. Many of those voters will vote in the primary in 2020, but will not vote for him.

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) expressed a similar sentiment on CSPAN last week.

“I personally don’t think Roy Moore is going to be our nominee, but whoever our nominee is will prevail in November because you’ll have the full complement of Republican voters turning out turning out to vote,” he said.

This is not 2017.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.