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Ledbetter: ‘Our main priority’s got to be education’

According to the State Board of Education, Alabama student test scores improved for all grade levels in 2022, compared to 2021.

In 2022, 47% of all tested students were proficient in English language arts, 37% were proficient in science, and 27% were proficient in math. That equates to a 2% increase of students who tested high enough in English, a 2% increase in science, and a 5% increase in math.

While the results show a slight improvement compared to last year, lawmakers feel education standards are still not where they need to be in the Yellowhammer State.

This week, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) discussed the state of Alabama’s education system on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”

“I think our main priority’s got to be education,” Ledbetter said. “We rank near the bottom of a lot of different categories and I think we’ve done some things in the latest session to try to move those numbers up and we got to continue to work on that. I think that’s going to be a priority.”

Ledbetter said there will have to be a combination of different approaches to better education in the state.

“Well, I think it takes all of it,” he said. “We’ve got some public schools that do a very good job. We’ve got some charter schools that are really starting to grow and do good work. The Accountability Act is working, I’ve been in some schools in the Birmingham area that’s been very successful in. I think school choice is certainly something we need to look at.

“I think whatever it takes to move the needle is what we need to do.”

When it comes to expanding school choice options in Alabama, Ledbetter said he’s not opposed to it.

“Well, I think what we got to do is find what fits for our state,” he said. “I don’t think it’s just a broad brush approach. I think it takes wording out a school choice bill that will work for certain areas that need it and I think there’s possibilities for that. I really do.”

The majority leader highlighted a proposal that he believes will specifically help those in elementary school.

“One of the things we talked about this last session,” he said, “was putting the teacher’s aide in K-3. It feels like that’s where we start falling behind is K-3 and trying to give more instructional ability for each classroom in those grades. I certainly think that’s a step in the right direction.”

Ledbetter said Alabama has a bright future in many ways.

“I’m excited about our future and what’s going on in the state and I think our economy is still moving in a good direction and I think there’s a lot of good things in our future so I’m excited about that,” he said.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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