By TODD STACY and MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
With seven weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election, Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday previewed what another term in office would look like should she be reelected.
In a speech to the Montgomery Kiwanis Club on Tuesday, Ivey made clear that improving education is at the top of her agenda.
“After all, our students are the reason I’m seeking a second term,” Ivey said. “We are taking concrete steps to ensure proficiency in both literacy and numeracy. We are transforming how we look at the basics of education.
“And while we received recently some positive news that students in Alabama are headed in the right direction, we can also see we have lots of work still in front of us. The single most important issue in Alabama and across the nation is our students’ education.”
Ivey was referring to recent test scores that showed improvement across the board for reading, math and science from 2021 to 2022. However, the numbers also showed relatively low proficiency among Alabama students overall.
Ivey also mentioned closing the gap between the state’s graduation rate and college and career readiness rate.
“Let me explain what the problem is,” Ivey said. “For the classes of 2020 and 2021, the graduation rate was 92%. But, y’all, the college and career readiness rate was at 76%. That’s a 16 percentage point gap. We’ve got to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Earlier this month, the Alabama State Board of Education, of which Ivey is the president, took initial steps to require high school graduates to meet at least one readiness benchmark. Those could include passing advanced placement classes, earning dual enrollment credits, completing an apprenticeship or enlisting in the military. A board vote on the new requirements is expected later this year.
Ivey, along with the Kiwanis Club and ALEA, also honored TerMarlon Blair as Trooper of the Year.
“It’s a real honor to see Trooper Blair commended for his service by this Kiwanis Club as well as the concerned citizens organized for police support,” Ivey said. “I commit to you over the next four years to look for ways to bolster public safety all across our state to protect our officers and our citizens. In Alabama we will always back the blue.”
Today, Sr. Trooper TerMarlon Blair was named Trooper of the Year by the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery.
Governor Kay Ivey served as the keynote speaker for the event and recognized Sr. Trooper Blair along with all law enforcement officers across Alabama for their service.#alea pic.twitter.com/pfCgCAMjwr
— Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (@ALEAprotects) September 20, 2022
Asked about other priorities for a potential second full term, Ivey included broadband expansion. The governor and Legislature can soon distribute about $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money allocated to the state. Asked whether a special session on that spending plan might happen, Ivey said that hadn’t crossed her mind yet.
Ivey faces Democrat Yolanda Flowers and Libertarian Jimmy Blake on Nov. 8.