ALABAMA (WHNT) – Education — primarily public education — became a part of the global culture war during the pandemic. Alabama lawmakers are planning to address more ‘divisive’ education topics.
According to al.com, lawmakers haven’t prefiled many bills this year. However, there are a few connected to K-12 education, primarily public schools.
One bill was similar to the divisive topics bill from 2022. Rep. Ed Oliver, R-Dadeville, has filed HB7, which prohibits the teaching of divisive topics related to race, sex or religion in both K-12 and higher education.
Another bill would allot parents a $6,000 voucher for each school-aged child they have. The money would be used to provide either a private education or help purchase materials for homeschooling.
A third bill would protect student-led prayer and broadcast prayer through PA systems and microphones during school hours.
AL.com says that the Alabama Board of Education has been hosting work sessions over the past year for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to work on what they all collectively want: a better education, and future, for the children of Alabama.
House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, both said that they are working on the issue of first-grade readiness, but neither is pushing mandatory kindergarten. On March 9, the board will vote on a rule that requires school districts to assess a child’s readiness if they have not attended kindergarten.
Senate Education Budget Chair Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, told AL.com that he wants to provide additional training for principals and then additional pay for those that complete the training.
State lawmakers also have to decide what to do with 2.7 billion in taxes in ‘unexpected Education Trust Fund Revenue.’