Following her inauguration remarks about improving education in her second term, Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed four executive orders related to student learning.
Executive Order No. 729 promotes early literacy by establishing a statewide Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Network.
Ivey authorized $4.1 million for the roll-out of the program to get free age-appropriate books by mail each month to children under age 5.
Executive Order No. 730 establishes the Governor’s Commission on Teaching and Learning. It will examine ways to enhance the quality of elementary and secondary education and create a report of recommendations by Dec. 1, 2023.
Executive Order No. 731 directs the state superintendent of education to submit a report outlining progress made to date and planned actions on multiple education initiatives launched in recent years. Those include the 2019 Literacy Act and 2022 Numeracy Act and 2022 changes to high school graduation requirements.
Executive Order No. 732 establishes a K-12 teacher apprenticeship pilot program for qualifying paraprofessionals and teacher’s aides to obtain teaching certificates by demonstrating competency in the classroom.
Separate from the executive orders, Ivey has asked Secretary of Early Childhood Education Barbara Cooper prioritize creating new pre-K classrooms in counties where more than 20% of the population falls below federal poverty guidelines. While Ivey and the Legislature have increased pre-K classroom funding significantly in recent years, there are still waitlists in many counties for the free program for 4 year olds.
“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 in a written statement. “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.”