State superintendent says education system is good, but can improve

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 4:39 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2022 at 6:22 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama’s students will end the year on a high note. This year’s success started in 2018. Federal rules made Alabama give more support to 38 schools to improve test scores, see fewer student absences, and more graduations.

This year each school improved enough to be moved off the comprehensive support and improvement list.

“We work intensively with those schools, we have a unit here called school improvement, and they go in to help those schools be able to plan for improvement,” said state superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey.

The most current data from the national center for education statistics show in 2019, Alabama had a 92-percent graduation rate. The highest graduation rate in the country.

“We’ve got to make sure that the students are leaving high school not just with a diploma, but also with a credential, and that credential means something,” said Mackey.

The state board of education recently voted to require college and career-ready benchmarks starting with students who will graduate in 2028. The improvements for the state also mean more work.

“Even though there always will be a bottom 6%, our goal is that that bottom measure continues to go up the scale,” said Mackey.

Mackey says when legislators meet to debate new laws in March, they have an idea of what they will support.

“Teachers are the backbone of what we do,” he said. “We know there’ll be a lot of talk about whether maybe there’ll be a pay increase for teachers. We always want to protect retirement and health care benefits for teachers.”

Alabama was the only state to improve its 4th grade and 8th grade math scores, moving the state out of last place, but as Mackey says, there is still room for improvement.

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