Arkansas Education

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, surrounded by Arkansas lawmakers and educators, signs the two bills into law Monday during a ceremony at the state Capitol.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a pair of identical bills Monday that will raise the state’s median teacher salaries by $2,000 and create a fund to help lower-paying districts reach that amount.

Senate Bill 504 by Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, and House Bill 1614 by Rep. Bruce Cozart, the chairs of the Senate and House Education Committees respectively, will raise the target median teacher salary to $51,822 for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. The House and Senate Committees afterwards would jointly set the statewide target median salary.

Arkansas House

An Arkansas House committee has advanced a bill that would put into the state’s code guidelines on the restraint of children in schools. 

Arkansas House

A bill that would allow college-level student athletes in Arkansas to make money off of their name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness passed its first legislative hurdle on Tuesday.

The House Education Committee by a voice vote, with no dissenting votes heard, approved House Bill 1671, which would create the "Student-Athlete Publicity Rights Act."

Arkansas Legislature

Following hours of debate, members of the Arkansas House Education committee narrowly passed a bill that would provide private school scholarships for low-income students.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 11 to nine in favor of House Bill 1371, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ken Bragg of Sheridan.

Little Rock School District

During their first meeting in over five years, members of the Little School Board elected its leadership positions, voted to extend the length of time they serve on the board as well as voted to hold a future meeting exclusively focused on COVID-19.

In the meeting, held via Zoom on Thursday night, the board chose its positions of president, vice-president, secretary, disbursing agent and the legislative liaison, with women being elected to four of those positions, including president and vice-president.

Those in leadership are:

Astronauts onboard the International Space Station took questions Thursday from students in northeast Arkansas.
NASA

Nettleton School District STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) students did something Thursday that no one in Arkansas has ever done – talked directly to astronauts inside the International Space Station.

hendrix college
Hendrix.edu

Hendrix College has received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation, the largest outright gift in Hendrix’s history.

“We are grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation,” said Hendrix President W. Ellis Arnold III. “More than ever, it is critical that we continue moving forward, to meet today’s challenges and to continue to be a leader in higher education in the future.”

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas lawmakers will soon vote on whether to require all high school students to take a computer science course.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday the state legislature will take up a bill creating the requirement sponsored by Sen. Jane English, R-North Little Rock, in the January general session.

Arkansas Educators Hit Hard By COVID-19, New Figures Show

Oct 30, 2020
Arkansas Nonprofit News Network

Since Aug. 24, approximately 2,060 Arkansas public school teachers and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. At least 60 have been hospitalized, 14 have landed in an intensive care unit and seven have been placed on ventilators. Six have died, according to health department data and news reports.

Arkansas Food Bank Logo
arkansasfoodbank.org

Arkansas students receiving school-based food assistance could be getting some extra help thanks to a new program by the Arkansas Food Bank.

The food bank announced the Emergency School Pantry Program, which is a partnership with five other food banks in the state, and will provide food boxes for 36 weeks.

Rhonda Sanders, CEO of the Arkansas Food Bank, says the goal is to have the program continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

lrsd.org

Little Rock voters will have their first chance in more than five years to select members of a locally-elected board to oversee the Little Rock School District. 

Arkansas Baptist College / Facebook

Why did you decide to run for the Little Rock School Board?

Ballotpedia

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

Facebook

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I want to see us continue the work that we're doing to bring every student up to reading on grade level. I think that's probably the most important work that's going on in the school district right now. We started about a year-and-a-half ago with some real concentrated efforts to change the reading curriculum and I want to continue being a voice that puts a spotlight on that issue in our district as we transition into local control.”

Benjamin R. Coleman, Jr.

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I have a 10-year-old daughter in the Little Rock School District. I come from a family of educators… once you get to a certain age or a certain point of your own career, it's time to reach back and help others just to make sure that the overall goal is to help the children succeed. Anything other than that, you really don't need to be looking to run for public office.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

kbvangdings.com

Why are you running for the Little Rock School Board?

“One of the reasons [is] I feel at a time where there’s so much mistrust in science. I feel almost it’s a moral obligation for scientists to run. And on top of that, in addition, I also feel that the Little Rock School District, having been under state control, I felt in the last five years, there wasn’t an overall improvement in the metrics in student learning and gains and I feel that with my experience in both science and education, I feel morally obligated to try and make a difference." 

Facebook

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I’m a retired educator, I retired June 2020. I would like to continue my work in education, and I do believe that the position that I'm seeking will be a catalyst to help make a change for teaching and learning.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

Facebook

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I feel like there have been a lot of voices that have been recognized from parents, teachers, but the one voice I believe is being left out is our students… so what I am trying to accomplish is making sure that we have someone on the school board who ‘student-focused’ isn't just a slogan for them. But rather someone who is… a recent graduate of the Little Rock School District and has been the child that No Child Left Behind actually left behind.”

Facebook

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I have a wealth of experience, abilities and skills and resources that I strongly believe can help the Little Rock School District, and that includes every student, nobody excluded… teachers, staff, cafeteria workers, custodians, everybody. So I feel like I can really make a big difference.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

Facebook

Why are you running for the Little Rock School Board?

Facebook

Why did you decide to run for a position on the Little Rock School Board?

"I want to take the opportunity to maximize my strengths and help with the team, if I’m elected, move the needle forward for the success of our students. Everything should be student focused and I believe in that." 

What education experience do you have?

Facebook

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“The school board is a really important position… we are supposed to be an external factor to make sure that our school district is operating the way that it should be, and that needs are being met.”

Facebook

Why did you decide to run for the Little Rock School Board?

“I’m a graduate and a product of the Little Rock School District, graduate of Little Rock Central [High School], 1976. And [the]Little Rock School District during those years was one of the best school districts in the state. All of my children have graduated from the Little Rock School District…My reasons are to better our school district, to bring it back to top form, to help students and families become productive citizens in our state and our city."

Daniel Breen

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I'm from southwest Little Rock and often times people from my area, they get counted our or overlooked. So I felt like it was so important for me to run, not only because I'm young and I'm familiar with what's going on, but it was just important to me to be able to be a representation with my whole existence to empower students who do see me.”

“I want to be a part of change, I want to be part of the solution, and I don't just want to talk about it, I want to be about it. So I'm excited.”

Tommy Branch

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I'm running to help better the City of Little Rock through education, and giving our kids a better… providing them with a better educational system. I have a daughter, so I want to make sure she has a great opportunity to be successful.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

Facebook

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“My mother was a teacher, my sister was a teacher and several of my cousins were teachers, so education is important to me. I retired from the Little Rock School District in 2014, and I really wanted to start doing something within the teaching spectrum again.”

“The reason why I am running is because I care about children, and with the grades and the reading scores that we’ve had have been really distressing. And so I decided that I wanted to run to be a part of the solution.”

Michael Sanders

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I’ve always been concerned about the district and an active participant volunteering, but now I'm at a point where I'm concerned to the point of action… I think now it’s the right time, the right mix for me to share my expertise, my knowledge, my connections, my work experience, life experiences to help bring the Little Rock School District back to the top of the state.”

Facebook

Why did you decide to run for the Little Rock School Board?

Stuart Mackey

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I don't know a better investment that I can make in my own community than supporting education of students here in Little Rock. Public service has been part of my family's life and I feel it’s the biggest impact I can make, working in public service at a local level… my dad did it, my grandfather did it, I've been involved with the schools for a long time through my kids, and I figure this is a good place to step in and help out.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

alinoland.com

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“This is a turning point for our school district and for our city, and it is time to rebuild public trust and public pride in our schools. I am a parent in this district, and as an attorney with a background in education law I think I have a lot to offer to be able to help our schools succeed and thrive across the city.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

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