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Alabama State Superintendent of Education reacts to Numeracy Act

New Numeracy Act
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 9:38 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Gov. Kay Ivey took action this week to help improve math scores in the state signing the Numeracy Act Tuesday.

Hundreds of new teachers and instructional coaches will be hired throughout the state to address learning gaps.

State Educational Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey is hopeful this approach will help turn around test scores in the state and bring students up from ranking dead last in national math scores.

Dr. Eric Mackey said one of the key components of the Numeracy Act will be deploying nearly 900 instructional math coaches to every K thru 5 school across the state.

“That really is the core of the act it’s getting these coaches in to help elementary teachers really look at the way we teach math and the way we help students be prepared for the assessments, but also be prepared for higher math,” Dr. Mackey said.

He believes the coaches will play a pivotal role in student achievement, but stresses they are not a reflection of teacher performance.

“Our teachers are in fact doing a great job, but you look at even the pro quarterbacks on the national championship team or on the Super Bowl team, hey, they have a quarterback’s coach. So, even the very best of the best has a coach that helps them look at what’s going on, in the case of math, they’ll be looking at the test scores, they’ll be looking at those teacher-made tests, and they’ll be just helping the teacher up his or her game in elementary mathematics,” Dr. Mackey explained.

The act requires schools to teach a minimum of 60 minutes of math each day, but also calls for some after school work, and in some cases, summer school.

But before schools can address learning gaps, they’ll need to fill the teacher shortage.

“We’re very excited about the new pay raise for teachers, especially the top end pay raise, so some teacher can get more than 20% if they’re retirement eligible, but willing to stay a few extra years. We’ve already had many teachers across the state, dozens resend their retirement and say, ‘yes, I’m going to stay 3, 4, 5 years,’ and that will help us reach the gap as we also try to recruit in more young people to become teachers,” Dr. Mackey said.

The Numeracy Act goes into effect in the fall of 2023 with coaches being deployed to the state’s lowest performing schools first.

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