DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Dothan Rotary members and local school officials listened about pressing issues that are facing Alabama’s education system during Monday’s Rotary meeting.
In an interview with WDHN, State Education Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey discussed Gov. Kay Ivey’s latest recommendation for a three percent pay raise for teachers, as well as her recommendation to increase classroom funding to $750 per teacher.
“That would be money the teacher gets to spend on her or his classroom buying paper, buying printer cartridges, buying all the kinds of school supplies they need,” Mackey explained.
According to Mackey, state education leaders hope to eventually increase classroom funding to $1,000 per teacher.
“We know that teachers spend a lot of their own money out of their pockets on their classrooms, and our goal is to get to the point where teachers don’t have to spend money out of their pocket, but they’re spending money the state gives them to spend on their classrooms,” Mackey said.
Mackey also discussed Alabama’s plan following the removal of Common Core, which should be removed by Fall 2021.
“In December, the board adopted the new standards that were developed by Alabama teachers that will replace the Common Core standards,” Mackey said. “The standards roll out of over two years. Schools can implement them this coming fall of (20)20, they’re not required to implement the new standards, what we’re calling post-Common Core standards.”
Mackey also touched on his ongoing state-wide conversations about early childhood literacy, mathematics and numeracy, and mental health initiatives; the latter being an issue he said is a serious need in Alabama education.
“We are trying to do what we can to support students, support our teachers and principals that are supporting students,” Mackey said.
Finally, Mackey discussed plans to help high school students decide on their post-high school careers.
“Whether that’s (going) to college, or go straight into a career, go to a post-secondary or technical institute, go into the military, we want students to be ready for that next step in their life,” Mackey said.