State superintendent reacts to governor’s State of the State address

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:15 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:25 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - State superintendent Eric Mackey is optimistic about the future of education in Alabama after Gov. Kay Ivey’s State of the State address.

“I was so glad to see that in her speech, she wanted to make it front and center that education is still a major priority,” Mackey said.

The governor said she is focusing on the future and proposing relief.

“I say we cannot continue letting our students and teachers struggle and rob them of a chance to achieve their dreams,” Ivey said.

The state superintendent echoed this point

“COVIDs been very difficult on all of us,” Mackey said. “It’s been very difficult on our schools, but the governor understands the importance of pressing forward to make sure that all of our students have all the opportunity that they can for life.”

That includes $10 million in funding to failing elementary schools.

“That’s determined by the Alabama Accountability Act, and it is the 6% lowest performing schools in achievement – academic achievement,” Mackey said.

The state superintendent added there are about a dozen elementary schools on that list.

The governor also proposed a 4% pay increase for educators.

“It’s just one more way to say thank you, thank you for the work you do, but we also hope that it encourages teachers to stay in the field,” he said.

Alabama is experiencing a teacher shortage. Mackey adds its not just because of COVID-19, but rather a lack of interest.

He says the number of students in college programs preparing to become educators has dropped.

“We really need those young people, 17, 18, 19-year-olds, again, to be deciding that they want to be teachers,” Mackey said.

He also said the state is working to recruit people to teach as a second career. The state superintendent acknowledges the hard work educators put in every day.

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