HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- Mandatory kindergarten may be on its way to Alabama.

In Governor Ivey’s State of the State Address, she called on lawmakers to make kindergarten a mandatory part of education for children across the state.

While many of us remember starting school in Pre-K or kindergarten, in the state of Alabama going into kindergarten is not mandatory. State leaders say making a change to that could help students from slipping behind the national level.

Strong Start Strong Finish was the first policy initiative Governor Ivey introduced during her first term. Ivey said it’s a part of her plan to make Alabama ranked among the top 30 states in reading and math by the end of her term as governor.

Currently, Kindergarten is not mandatory in the state of Alabama. This law would make it a part of education for all one principle says it’s all about preparation.

“Well, it’s the more they’re here, the more they’re prepared,” said F.E. Burleson Principal Bryant Whitlock. “Because our teachers are set up and are well trained to get them prepared for the second, third, and fourth grade. And if kids fall behind in the first grade, then it’s going to affect them.”

While most educators are all for making kindergarten mandatory, one former teacher disagrees.

“No, I’m not excited about it,” said Debbie Sexton. “I think that it should just be the parent’s choice because I think that children are sometimes rushed to grow up and they lose a lot of things altered by, you know, having to learn things that maybe they’re not ready for.”

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said sending kids to kindergarten saves the state money in the long run.

“Right now we’re trying to catch up from years and years and years of neglect,” said Daniels. “So therefore, it’s going to be more expensive to try to bridge that gap and to close that achievement gap and higher grade levels, which is going to require a significant amount more money.”

To aid in this effort, Governor Ivey says it’s her goal to have the starting salary for all Alabama teachers to be the highest in the southeast by the end of her term. Most recently she has proposed to raise teacher pay by 2%.