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Gov. Kay Ivey signs Alabama Numeracy Act, says bill challenges ‘status quo’

Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Numeracy Act, which seeks to improve K-5 math proficiency among public school students.

Sponsored by State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and State Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton), Senate Bill 171 solidifies the State Board of Education’s decision in 2019 to bar the instruction of Common Core mathematical standards in Alabama’s public schools.

Additionally, the legislation provides for summer learning programs, assessment tests, accountability standards for teachers and principals, and additional training and standards for teacher education programs.

In a statement announcing her signing of the bill, Ivey touched on what she asserted to be the importance of math proficiency.

“Literacy and numeracy are the blocking and tackling of education, plain and simple,” stated Ivey in a release. “For our students to have positive educational outcomes and to have success later in life, we must ensure proficiency in both reading and math is achieved. That is why, here in Alabama, we are focusing on what matters, and that is core instruction – not any of the other nonsense. Alabama parents wholeheartedly agree with that.”

Senate Bill 171 is a legislative undertaking similar to the Alabama Literacy Act, which was signed into law in 2019 as an attempt to improve K-3 reading proficiency.

Ivey, a former public school educator, advised that the bill places the “same sense of urgency” on math proficiency as the state has on reading.

“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,” continued the governor. “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.”

Ivey concluded, “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.”

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