Ledbetter, Reid Promote Education at YH Update

Goff Justice announces a $20 million expansion of nursing education programs

While there is still work to be done, Senate Pro Tim Greg Reed and House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said education is improving in Alabama.

Their comments came Thursday during Yellowhammer News’ annual legislative update in Montgomery. Reed and Ledbetter joined the Yellowhammer team for a Q&A session during the event.

“I think we had 20 different fields of study below what they should be in reading, but now we’re down to just six,” Leadbeater said. “So we see a significant improvement in our reading and I think it will continue.”

He also talked about a host of recently enacted education bills that, according to the Speaker, “need to be talked about.”

He said, “It will improve education.” “I don’t have any question in my mind about that. We’ve seen it in the Literacy Act, and I think we’ll see it in the Arithmetic Act.”

“The areas where we know we need help, we have to go and do it. It’s time to stop talking about it and do it.”

He also called for increased accountability between principals and supervisors.

“I think the responsibility for failing schools should lie with the administrators, and we haven’t done that in the past,” Leadbeater said. “If you’re a principal or superintendent, in those failing schools, and you can’t improve that school’s results over the next three years, there has to be someone else in that position and I feel very strongly about that.”

However, he said that success must be rewarded.

“If you bring someone in and they do a good job and get these grades, they have to pay for it,” Leadbeater said. “If it’s an extra paycheck or whatever, it has to be done.”

Reid was optimistic about the future of education in the state but urged patience.

“In education, in particular, we’ve done some pretty extraordinary things with arithmetic, literacy, difference law, things we’ve already done with the Charter Schools Accountability Act,” he said. “But looking at the wages for hiring and retaining schoolteachers, we’ve done a lot of really good work.

“We have to have a little bit of patience to allow the methodologies that we’ve tried to install so that we can do what we want them to do.”

Reid said the positive effects of the new policies are already beginning to emerge.

“We’ve made some program changes, we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars in certain ways to try to improve outcomes, and if we just look at the beginning, those outcomes start to change,” he said. “If we just want to slow it down long enough to allow the system to work.”

Austin Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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