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Education in Alabama facts for kids

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Education in Alabama consists of public and private schools in Alabama, including the University of Alabama, private colleges, and secondary and primary schools.

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 2008–2009. 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 has also 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.

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