August State Board of Education Report
August 13, 2019
August State Board of Education Report: School Starts Back, Charter School Commission Appointments, JAG Program Five of Five Award, and More
On August 9, the Alabama REALTORS® Public Policy team monitored the State Board of Education (BOE) meeting in Montgomery for impacts on the real estate industry and property owners. The State BOE has a tremendous responsibility in overseeing our schools, and the quality of our school systems affects the real estate industry, economic development, and property values in Alabama.
In the meeting, the BOE conducted mostly routine business, but there were a few agenda items of note. Two resolutions were approved:
- A Resolution to Recognize Mrs. Regina Sankey, the “Barbara Fannin Memorial Employee of the Quarter” for July- September 2019
- A Resolution to Modify Certain Passing Scores and to Adopt Additional Praxis Subject Assessments as a Pre-condition for Initial Certification.
- Dr. Mackey explained this resolution allows more future and current teachers to teach math in the classroom and will help alleviate the math teacher shortage. This change would allow teachers to take stand-alone algebra and geometry Praxis tests and be certified for that one subject without taking the full Math Praxis. These recommendations came from the Teacher Shortage Taskforce.
BOE members also voted on six appointments to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission. Marla Green (Montgomery), Jamie Ison (Mobile), Paul Morin (Birmingham), Henry Nelson (Birmingham), Sydney Rains (Mobile), and Kimberly Terry (Trinity) received the most votes and will serve on the Commission. Appointments came from lists of nominees provided by Governor Kay Ivey, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, and Senate President Pro-Tempore Del Marsh. The Alabama Public Charter School Commission is an independent state agency whose mission is to authorize high quality public charter schools, in accordance with the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act (Act 2015-3).
Dr. Mackey then reported that Alabama received the national Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) “Five of Five Award,” an award that few states receive. This award recognizes states and sites for achieving or surpassing all five of the performance outcomes.
Graph Courtesy of alabamajag.org
Based off the national Jobs for America’s Graduates model, JAG identifies and provides educational support and success strategies for Alabama’s highest at-risk students by partnering JAG-eligible students with educational specialists who mentor and equip the students with what is needed to graduate and succeed after high school
Craig Collins, Educational Administrator for the Alabama State Department of Education, said the JAG program was more successful this year due to support from the Governor and additional funding support from the legislature. Collins further stated that $292,000 is the average costs of a high school drop out in Alabama. 225 seniors who were supposed to drop out of high school were enrolled in the JAG program in 2019. Of the 225 seniors, 221 of those students went on to graduate. Just this graduating class saved taxpayers an estimated $64 million.
State Superintendent’s Report
In his State Superintendent report, Dr. Mackey stated that 90% of students have started back to school. He has received good reports overall for the first week of school. Dr. Mackey further noted that according to the American School Counselor Association, Alabama is the most improved state for teacher-counselor ratio. Since the 2015–2016 report, Alabama gained 269 new school counselors, decreasing the state’s student-to-school-counselor ratio 15% since the 2015–2016 school year from 491-to-1 (2015–2016) to 417-to-1 (2016–2017).
The next BOE meeting will be held on September 12, 2019.
State Board of Education Background
The BOE was established in 1919 to set policies and regulations for the state's public school system. The board is comprised of nine members. Governor Kay Ivey is president by virtue of her position as Governor, and the remaining eight members are elected to four-year terms in partisan elections from single-member districts of the state with similar populations. A state superintendent of education is appointed by the board to serve as its secretary and executive officer over the State Department of Education.
The AAR Public Policy team will continue to monitor state regulatory agencies for potential impacts on REALTOR® members, the real estate industry and private property owners.