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Ivey signs math education law

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday signed legislation to put more requirements on and resources toward elementary math education.

“We cannot accept passing our students along without the proper foundation as the status quo, and that is why I have proudly signed the Alabama Numeracy Act into law,” Ivey said in a written statement. “This strategic, targeted and wise investment in our children will provide necessary resources, will include high-quality instruction and will keep our schools accountable. The Alabama Numeracy Act delivers on my commitment to place the same sense of urgency on math as we rightfully have on reading.

“Students will not only understand how to find an answer, but will have the mathematical reasoning needed for the in-demand STEM jobs in Alabama.”

The act was sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and is similar to the 2019 Literacy Act, but does not have the same holdback requirement for students who are not proficient in math. Instead, the accountability requirements are placed on schools, which can be taken over or reconstituted if they show continued failure to improve.

Requirements in the act include regular math screenings for K-5 students and “intensive mathematics interventions” to students identified with math deficiencies. It also mandates that university education programs teach the same approved math curriculum to new teachers before they enter the classroom.

The law will also put math coaches in K-5 schools to assist current math teachers in modern math education practices.

When fully implemented, the law will cost about $114 million per year.

“We have no choice but to improve and put the resources needed to achieve that end but hold education systems accountable who fail our students if they can’t move the needle in a positive direction after receiving all these additional supports,” Orr said Wednesday morning.

Ivey and bill supporters have also said it “eradicates” Common Core standards from the curriculum.

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