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Stadthagen: ‘Got to get a grip on education’

The Alabama annual legislative session starts this week, and one of the main priorities for lawmakers will be how to improve the state’s education system.

In her inaugural address, Gov. Kay Ivey said her goal for the state to be in the top 30 in numeracy and literacy before the end of her term.

Friday on Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal, Alabama House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) said it will take a combination of things to improve education in the state.

“I think everybody in the state of Alabama can agree that we have to do something with our education system. We are at the bottom of the barrel and we have been that way for a while,” Stadthagen said. “This is not a silver bullet to fix it and I don’t think money’s going to fix it. It’s a combination of different things in different communities.”

The lawmaker pointed to some of the positive changes to Alabama’s education system in recent years, but reiterated that more needs to be done.”

“With our Pre-K programs, I think those have been very beneficial,” he said. “We haven’t done those long enough to see the rewards from it yet. I think some of the bills we have passed in the past are good, but we still have to see in the future. So some of the stuff we have done, you’re not going to see the results for several years from now.”

Stadthagen also believes there can be some improvements in communication between the Legislature and the State School Board.

“(E)verybody across the state wants to make our state better if you’re in public office,” he said. “And if you don’t you need to go back home. I think everyone on that school board wants to see their numbers be where they need to be, and everybody in the state Legislature wants to do the same as well.

“I think you have to work together to obtain the goal that we need to obtain for our state, but if we don’t work together, we’re not communicating, we’re not to be successful. It’s impossible to be successful without communication.”

The majority leader said now is the time for the Legislature to pass these reforms.

“We have got to get a grip on our education and where we’re going and what we’re doing to fix it,” he said, “because what we’ve been doing is not working … I think there’s communities that are in this state that are hurting financially, they’re hurting in poverty, and they’re hurting in their school numbers, and we need to address those situations.”

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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