Become the most school-choice friendly state in the nation
For some families, that means having the chance to send their child to a charter, magnet or private school, or to homeschool them. School choice is a spectrum, and last year, we recognized we had to first improve our existing options--charter schools
and the Alabama Accountability Act. Now, our next step is to provide our parents, beginning with those most in need, education savings accounts, which will further us on our journey to become the most school-choice friendly state in the nation.
Source: 2024 State of the State Address to the Alabama legislature
, Feb 6, 2024
Allow more charter schools, create more parental choice
It's important we continue to have meaningful discussions on school choice. That must begin with improving the school choice we already have: Our charter school options and the Alabama Accountability Act. I am proposing we provide startup funds for
Charter Schools and make needed reforms to the governance of the Charter School Commission. These actions will allow more charter schools to form and to ensure high quality education and ultimately…create more choices for parents!
I am proposing we establish the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences to address the growing healthcare worker shortage. This new healthcare high school will offer an innovative curriculum for 9th through 12th graders, exposing them to a diversity
of STEM and healthcare opportunities, as well as hands-on clinical training experiences. Y'all, when these students receive their diplomas, they will be ready to fill a broad spectrum of healthcare jobs or pursue a higher education.
Emphasize fundamentals of education: reading and math
Through the Numeracy and Alabama Literacy Acts, we are putting a renewed emphasis on the fundamentals of education: Reading and math. The full implementation of these will be key to our students' success.
In my budget proposal, I am including increased funding for more reading and math coaches so we can ensure every child in every school has the ability to be proficient in these two essential areas.
Source: 2023 State of the State Address to Alabama legislature
, Mar 7, 2023
Won't accept the existence of a failing elementary school
In Alabama, our students will be focused on core curriculum. That means being proficient readers by the end of third grade. After we collect useful data during this upcoming spring semester, implementing the Alabama Literacy Act will be a must.
We must also ensure our kids are focused on developing their math skills, studying history--not theory--and mastering other classes like science and writing.
We should pledge, together, that we will no longer accept the existence of a failing elementary school in our state. Early learning is the bedrock of a quality education. How can we expect to have successful middle and high schools if we have
failing elementary schools? To that end, I am proposing resources to support grants for failing elementary schools that are not one-size-fits all, but rather, are customized to the particular needs of each of those struggling schools.
$1.25 billion bond for K-12 public schools, state colleges
While 2020 presented a host of challenges, the year also gave us opportunities to do some big things such as work with the Legislature to pass the Public School and College Authority Bond.
This $1.25 billion investment sent money to every K-12 school system, and to all of our two- and four-year colleges. The proceeds of this bond will be transformational for years to come.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Alabama legislature
, Feb 2, 2021
$25 million for Pre-K; $1B for public schools & colleges
We all know that a world-class workforce begins with a world-class education system. The path that leads to that starts with a solid foundation constructed during the first 5 years of life.
Just think... 95% of a child's brain develops from birth to
age 5. My education budget that I am proposing will provide an additional $25 million dollars to expand our nationally-recognized First Class Pre-K program. This significant increase will expand the program by another 193 classrooms.
I am proposing a $1 billion-dollar public school and college authority for K-12 education, as well as for our two- and four-year colleges and universities. This money will be distributed on a formula basis to allow for much-needed capital improvements
across the state. Equally important, this bond will not include any legislative earmarks for pet projects. It has been almost 14 years since Alabama made an investment of this size by providing direct help to our schools.
The tremendous efforts of the Department of Early Childhood Education have enabled Alabama's First Class Pre-K to be ranked as the nation's highest quality program for the 12th consecutive year! Last year, we increased funding by
$18.5 million dollars, which was the largest, single-year increase ever approved. Because of that, 107 new First Class Pre-K classrooms were added last fall, which led Alabama to officially break the 1,000-classroom mark.
Alabama's teachers are vital to our students and they deserve to be the highest paid public employees in our state. That is why,
I am proposing a four percent raise for all teachers: pre-k through community college! Without our teachers, our students cannot achieve success! The foundation for a strong future for all Alabamians begins in the classroom.
Strong Start, Strong Finish: from pre-K to workforce
For Alabamians to have career opportunities, they must be prepared when the right job comes along. My education initiative, Strong Start, Strong Finish, does just that. Under Strong Start, Strong Finish, we will coordinate our efforts and bring all
stakeholders to the table in order to improve education all the way from Pre-K to the workforce.
I instituted Strong Start, Strong Finish, because we must prepare our people for the jobs of today and for the jobs of tomorrow.
By 2020, 62% of all jobs available in Alabama will require some form of postsecondary education. However, today, only 37% of our workforce has achieved such an education. We must ensure that our students graduate high school and then earn
a postsecondary certificate or degree.
I'm proud to have quickly become known as a governor focused on education. Over the past nine months, I have devoted a great deal of my time to my role as president of the State Board of Education.
Remove bad teachers; let students leave failing schools
The "Students First Act" Teacher Tenure Reform: Vowing to protect the state's greatest asset--the education of Alabama's children--lawmakers passed an education reform measure giving local school boards the resources to ensure the state has quality
teachers in every classroom. Grants local school boards more authority to remove bad teachers and is widely supported by the state's education community as a much-needed reform.
Alabama Accountability Act-
Is a historic school choice plan that invests in students by giving families with students in a failing school the opportunity to receive an income tax credit to offset the cost of transferring a student to a non-failing public or private school.
The Act also empowers local control by allowing schools and school districts to enter into flexibility contracts with the State Board of Education.
Charter Schools "plan of action" for statewide reform
We are one of only ten states left in the country without Charter Schools. So here are some of my ideas to lay out a path for Charter Schools in Alabama:
First, after you elect me as Governor, I'll create a Charter Schools "plan of action."
It'll focus on accountability and insist that students learn at high standards.
Next, I'm going to utilize the "bully pulpit" of the office to hold town hall meetings to organize and rally support from the people who want real reform.
After the plan of action is fully developed, I'll work with others to have the results crafted into a legislative bill. The bill could be similar to that of Georgia's, which allowed local parents, teachers and administrators to transform their school
districts into districts comprised entirely of charter schools.
We could start out by experimenting with a small number of targeted districts in different areas around the state, rather than instituting a "blanket plan" statewide.
Charter Schools offer quality alternative to private schools
[To implement] a Charter Schools "plan of action" will require a collaborative effort. There will be certain, stiff opposition from teachers' unions and a few stubborn school boards and administrators. Existing public schools should welcome
Charter Schools as an option, not a threat. Across the country, Charter Schools are helping--even saving--fragile, vulnerable students who have the most serious needs. They are also proven to reduce the shift from public schools to private schools and
The Benefits To You:
Charter Schools allow parents a greater voice and more control over their children's education.
Charter Schools can offer a quality alternative to homeschooling and expensive private schools.
Charter Schools establish innovative ways to educate our students and increase our graduation rates. A more informed and educated individual produces greater success and prosperity for all.