Gov. Ivey issues executive orders aimed at government transparency and education

This week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a total of seven executive orders addressing education and government transparency.

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Ivey signed Executive Orders 726, 727 and 728 to “establish and promote more efficiency, accountability and transparency within the state government.” Executive 726 establishes “standards for the management and operation of state agencies to further unify executive branch agencies under the leadership of the governor.”

Executive 727 establishes the Governor’s Study Group on efficiency in State Government, which will examine ways to increase recruitment and retention of state employees and the potential elimination and consolidation of stage agencies, boards and commissions. A report and recommendations on the group’s findings will be made by Dec. 15. Members of this group will include Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer, Sen. Clyde Chambliss, Sen. Linda Coleman Madison, Rep. Chris Pringle, Alabama Dept. of Revenue Commissioner Vernon Barnett, Alabama Dept. of Finance State Comptroller Kathleen Baxster, Alabama Personnel Director Jackie Graham, State Budget Officer Doryan Carlton, Manufacture Alabama Chief Operating Officer Jon Barganier and Alabama Dept. of Examiners of Public Accounts Chief Examiner Rachel Riddle. Boozer will serve as the group’s chair, while Riddle will serve in an advisory capacity.

Executive Order 728 is designed to promote efficiency and accountability in the use of the Alabama’s 9,000 state vehicles. The executive order requires each agency to establish policies to eliminate unnecessary state vehicles and to “better ensure the proper use and assignment of state vehicles for official purposes.” All agencies will be required to report annually to Ivey’s office concerning the use of agency vehicles. Also, the order directs the Alabama Dept. of Transportation to completely eliminate the State Motor Pool by Oct. 1.

“As we enter the beginning of the next four years, it is imperative we ensure state government is efficient and being held accountable,” Ivey said in a statement. “The principles of accountability, efficiency and transparency will guide us as we work towards making the necessary reforms to better serve all Alabamians.

“My administration will always work to better serve our people, and by issuing today’s executive orders, we are honoring Alabamians’ expectations that their tax dollars are being safely managed and that state property is used for its official, governmental purposes.”

On Jan. 18, Ivey followed up with four more executive orders based on education reform, which Ivey says is designed to help the state achieve its goal of becoming a Top 30 ranked state in numeracy and literacy by the end of her term.

Executive 729 is designed to promote early literacy by establishing a statewide Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library network. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was founded in 1995 and is a literacy program for preschool aged children, which sees children receive a book in the mail every month.

Ivey authorized $4.1 million for the rollout of the program in the state, which will ensure every Alabamian will begin receiving age-appropriate books by mail each month after they are born until five years of age. Parents will also have the right to opt their children out of the program at any time.

Executive Order 730 establishes the Governor’s Commission on Teaching and Learning, which will examine ways to enhance the quality of elementary and secondary education in the state and will produce a report of recommendations by Dec. 1. Members of the commission include Business Education Alliance President Dr. Joe Morton, State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, State Sen. Donnie Chesteen, Rep. Alan Baker, Rep. Barbara Drummond, Montgomery City Schools Superintendent Dr. Melvin Brown, Holtville High School Principal Kyle Futral, Mountain Brook Schools Superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow, Booker T. Washington K-8 teacher Reggie White, Alabama Parent Teacher Association President Donna McCurry, Alabaster City Schools Board of Education member Derek Henderson, retired Mississippi State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright and Whiteboard Advisors CEO Ben Wallerstein. Morton will serve as the commission chair.

Executive Order 731 is designed to “ensure progress toward full implantation of vital education initiatives.” This executive order ensures the full implantation of recent education-focused initiatives, such as the 2019 Literacy Act, 2022 Numeracy Act and other initiatives.

Executive Order 731 directs State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey to submit a report outlining past progress made, as well as future action items, to ensure the speedy implementation of the initiatives outlined in Executive Order 731. These reports are due by June 30.

Executive Order 732 establishes a K-12 Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program designed to provide pathways for paraprofessionals and teacher’s aides to obtain a Class A or Class B teaching certificate by demonstrating competency in the classroom. The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship will administer the program.

In addition to the executive orders, Ivey sent a memo to the Secretary of Early Childhood Education Dr. Barbara Cooper that directs the department to prioritize creating new Pre-K classrooms in counties where more than 20 percent of the population falls below federal poverty guidelines.

“I am proud to sign these executive orders into effect and believe they will lay an essential foundation for ensuring every Alabama student receives a high-quality education,” Ivey said in a statement. “This is the first of many steps I plan to take in this new term to increase Alabama’s national ranking in our students’ reading and math performance. Our children are our future, and by investing in their education, we are investing in a better Alabama.”