Category: Education

3rd Graders at Risk of Being Held Back for Poor Reading Skills; Local Schools Where That’s More and Less Likely

More than one-fifth of Alabama’s third graders last spring failed to pass a standardized reading test.

In more than 50 schools across the state, 50% or more of the students ended third grade without necessary reading skills needed by that age, according to the test results released recently by the state.

Seven of those schools are in the Birmingham City School system. The Tarrant School System as a whole also fell below the halfway mark, and the Fairfield system barely topped 50%.

This is the first school year that third graders who do not read at grade level by the end of the school year must be held back in that grade, rather than passed on to fourth grade, except under certain conditions. Read more and find schools’ scores.

Kids Count: Alabama 46th in Child Well-Being

Alabama leads the nation in graduating high school students on time, but middle school students’ math and reading scores are near last in the country, according to a new report.

Alabama ranked 46th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2022 Kids Count Data Book released today. That ranking is up from 47th in 2021.

The annual report looks at 16 indicators of child well-being related to education, health care, economic factors and community and family. Data points come from 2016 through 2020.

Alabama did improve in 10 of the indicators but in four of them the state fell behind the rest of the nation, according to a written statement today. Read more.

How Birmingham-Area High Schools Placed in the Best High School Rankings

Mountain Brook High School has been ranked the No. 1 high school in the Birmingham area as part of U.S. News and World Reports’ annual Best High Schools rankings. The school’s scores placed it in the 200th spot nationwide.

The top-ranked schools in the state was Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School in Montgomery, which also was ranked No. 17 in the nation. Read more.

Birmingham Council Sets April 19 Hearing and Vote on New Districts Despite Disenfranchisement Concerns

The Birmingham City Council has set an April 19 public hearing on its proposed redistricting plan, which will likely culminate in a vote despite concerns from some councilors that the timing of the redistricting’s implementation could be interpreted as voter disenfranchisement.

Municipal law requires the city to draw new district lines after each federal census, which happens every 10 years, to make sure that population is roughly balanced among the nine districts, which each elect representatives to the City Council and the school board.

Due to delays caused by COVID, the council didn’t receive the 2020 census results until earlier this year, even though there was an election in fall 2021. Some councilors, such as Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, expressed concerns over the timing of the new map’s implementation. For the changes to be made so early in a four-year term, O’Quinn said, “would essentially nullify (voters’) participation” in the 2021 election. Read more.