Why not fully fund education?

Published 11:44 pm Friday, January 16, 2015

The first Tuesday in March will also be the beginning of the 2015 Alabama Legislative session.

Once again, education, the Education Trust Fund, and education reform will be on the agenda on any given Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday during this spring in Montgomery. Hopefully, before tossing out alternatives to public education, the 2015 Alabama Legislatures will consider fully funding free public education which serves well over 700,000 children in Alabama.

Perhaps, the lawmakers will consider funding technology, library enhancement, and professional development which have not been funded since 2008. It is hard to imagine that these three crucial areas are not funded; yet public schools continue to find creative ways to provide students with technology, increase book circulations in school libraries, and provide teachers with training on best practices in the ever changing profession of education.

Another idea for the 2015 Legislative session is to fully fund student transportation, which is currently only 76 percent funded; or even include funds in the budget that have been designated for additional teachers in grades six through eight. Ideally, this new session will focus on providing support to public educators rather than taking more money away and replacing support with alternatives like the Alabama Opportunity Scholarships, charter schools, or other premeditated school choice options.

Preferably, the legislature of this great state will work collaboratively to support and build on the 86 percent state-wide graduation rate. The concept that Alabama students; now more than ever before, are earning qualifying scores on Advanced Placement exams, and every eleventh grade student in Alabama is able to take the ACT for free, are astounding examples of why law makers need to support public education.

Maybe this year the focus will be on supporting Alabama’s State Board of Education and not interfering with the implementation of Alabama’s College and Career Readiness Standards.

Let us make the best of this fresh start and the 2015 Legislative session. Our educators, parents, educational stakeholders, and most importantly students of Alabama are counting on it.

Optimistically yours,

Kyle Kallhoff, Superintendent

Chickasaw City Board of Education