Ivey rejects delay of Alabama Literacy Act

By PAUL DEMARCO / Guest Columnist

In her five years in office, Gov. Kay Ivey has rarely used the stroke of a pen to veto legislation passed by the Alabama Legislature. Actually she has been pretty successful in getting her agenda passed by lawmakers. And she has remained very popular in the state as we approach the 2022 election cycle.

Yet, this past week Ivey rejected a bill passed by a bipartisan group of Senate and House members that would have delayed a section of the Alabama Literacy Act by two years.

The veto means that beginning at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 academic school year, all third grade students must read at their grade level before being promoted to the fourth grade.

Alabama students have suffered from the state’s chronic education woes for decades. The governor made it clear she was not ready to delay the implementation of the law and wanted education leaders to look at next year’s student reading results before making any further decisions on how to proceed. Thus, unless something changes dramatically and the legislature attempts another delay, the promotion requirements will take effect next year.

The governor received a lot of pressure to sign the bill but in the end made it clear that despite the difficulties of the pandemic, students must be able to read at their grade level or they will risk future success.

Let’s hope that Alabama is taking a step on the way to moving forward with more successful education outcomes for state students.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.