Education in Alabama | Wikipedia audio article


Education in Alabama consists of public and
private schools in Alabama, including the University of Alabama, private colleges, and
secondary and primary schools.==History==
Private and locally established common schools existed in the old Mississippi Territory in
what is now Alabama. The 1819 State Constitution declared,
Schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged in this State; and the General
Assembly shall take measures to preserve, from unnecessary waste or damage, such lands
as are or hereafter may be granted by the United States for the use of schools within
each township in this State, and apply the funds, which may be raised from such lands;
in strict conformity to the object of such grant. The General Assembly shall take like measures
for the improvement of such lands as have been or may be hereafter granted by the United
States to this State, for the support of a Seminary of learning, and the moneys which
may be raised from such lands, by rent, lease, or sale, or from any other quarter, for the
purpose, aforesaid, shall be and remain a fund for the exclusive support of a State
University, for the promotion of the arts, literature, and the sciences: and it shall
be the duty of the General Assembly, as early as may be, to provide effectual means for
the improvement and permanent security of the funds and endowments of such institution. In 1822, Athens State University was established
as a private institution called the Athens Female Academy. It did not become a public school until 1974. LaGrange College was established as a private
college in 1830. It was destroyed during the war and reestablished
in 1872. It is now the University of North Alabama. In 1850, there were 1,323 schools with about
thirty-seven thousand students enrolled.The state’s voters approved a referendum calling
for free public schools for White children in 1852. The legislature approved funding for such
schools in the 1854 Public Schools Act. This decision was not without controversy. The 1858 Report of the Superintendent of Education,
Gabriel B. Du Val discussed the population’s attitude toward education, “Fortunately however
for Alabama, and it is believed the Southern States generally, this indifference has not
not been felt toward education itself but toward governmental aid in procuring it. The happy condition of our social relations
and general diffusion of wealth has rendered it comparatively unnecessary, wherever it
was needed private generosity generally anticipated public aid.”By 1860, about a quarter of White
school-aged children were enrolled. The 1868 constitution required free, racially
integrated public school funded by the state. During this period, it was a crime in Alabama
to teach a slave to read.In 1880, a quarter of all Whites over the age of ten were illiterate. The number was 18.84% in 1890 and 14.8% in
1900. Only two states, South Carolina and Louisiana
had lower figures. Comparable national illiteracy rates are 1880
17%, 1890 13% and 1900 11%. In 2012, the state reported 14.8% of all adults
were illiterate. Recent reports use different standards of
illiteracy than earlier compilations, and so the numbers are not completely comparable. In the 1890s, about 25% of White and 38% of
Black students who entered the first grade left in their first month, unable to pay tuition.The
state’s 1901 constitution prohibited both racially integrated schools and state aid
to religious schools. It reduced property taxes but required schools
to be funded by the localities using tuition and user fees.Eighty days of schooling per
year was made mandatory in 1915, but the requirement could be waived for the very poor. The state began to require each county to
have a high school, and by 1918 all but ten counties met the obligation. By the mid-1930s, two-third of the children
of landowners reached high school, but only a third of the children of White sharecroppers. In an effort to reduce illiteracy the state
created “Opportunity Schools” in 1920. These schools enrolled young adults who had
not completed fourth grade. The schools taught basic reading and writing
to the fourth-grade level.As a reaction to Brown v Board of Education in 1954, both state
and local officials took steps to preserve de facto educational segregation. In 1955 the state allowed public schools to
use intelligence and other tests to assign students. Such tests were a method to keep schools segregated. The state also allowed public funds to flow
to private schools that admitted only students of one race. In 1956 the first Black student was admitted
to the University of Alabama, she was then immediately expelled. In 1958 John Patterson was elected governor
on a platform that promised “if a school is ordered to be integrated, it will be closed
down.” As late as 1965, schools in Jefferson County
were still totally segregated.Since 2000, eleven school districts have been established
by breaking away from the county schools. This has eroded the tax base for the county
schools and increased racial segregation.==Primary and secondary education==
Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is under the overview of the Alabama
State Board of Education as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards and 60
city boards of education. Together, 1,541 individual schools provide
education for 743,364 elementary and secondary students.Public school funding is appropriated
through the Alabama Legislature through the Education Trust Fund. In FY 2006–2007, Alabama appropriated $3,775,163,578
for primary and secondary education. That represented an increase of $444,736,387
over the previous fiscal year. In 2007, over 82 percent of schools made adequate
yearly progress (AYP) toward student proficiency under the National No Child Left Behind law,
using measures determined by the state of Alabama. In 2004, 23 percent of schools met AYP.While
Alabama’s public education system has improved, it lags behind in achievement compared to
other states. According to U.S. Census data from 2000, Alabama’s
high school graduation rate – 75% – is the second lowest in the United States (after
Mississippi). The largest educational gains were among people
with some college education but without degrees. This value dropped to 72% for the 2010-2011
school year, but at least 8 states had a lower figure than Alabama that year.There have been
concerns about literacy. 130 high schools out of 367 in the state either
failed reading or were classified as “borderline” for 11th graders for the school year 2008-9. 60% of Alabama’s school systems had at least
one school that failed reading or was borderline.The state provides education from Kindergarten
through grade 12. It established a pre-kindergarten program. This program was recognized in 2007, 2008,
2009 and 2010 as having the highest quality standards, tied for first place with North
Carolina. In addition to state funded pre-k programs
administered through the state, some public schools in the state offer pre-k through the
use of local and federal funds. The appropriation for the state funded pre-k
program is $18,376,806. Currently, 7% of the state’s four-year-olds
participate in the First Class program. Although unusual in the West, school corporal
punishment is not uncommon in Alabama, with 27,260 public school students paddled at least
one time, according to government data for the 2011–2012 school year. The rate of school corporal punishment in
Alabama is surpassed only by Mississippi and Arkansas.==Colleges and universities==Alabama’s programs of higher education include
fourteen four-year public universities, numerous two-year community colleges, and 17 private,
undergraduate and graduate universities. Public, post-secondary education in Alabama
is overseen by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Colleges and universities in Alabama offer
degree programs from two-year associate degrees to 16 doctoral level programs.Accreditation
of academic programs is through the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges as well
as a plethora of subject focused national and international accreditation agencies.==Charter schools==
Alabama has no charter schools. Governor Bob Riley (R) proposed charter schools
to the Alabama legislature, but the proposition was killed in House and Senate committees
in mid-February 2010. Opposition to charter schools has been fierce,
by Democrats, city and county school systems, and the Alabama Education Association.==See also==
List of school districts in Alabama==
Notes====External links==
2008 AP test results – College Board press release

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