Sen. Breanne Davis of Russellville, lead sponsor of Senate Bill 294, which would enact the governor’s education program, looks at Education Secretary Jacob Oliva, right, as he answers questions about the bill during a meeting of the Senate Education Committee Wednesday morning, Feb. 22, 2023, in Little Rock. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

From unconstitutional to outrageous

BY: - August 15, 2023

“Police stage ‘chilling’ raid on Marion County newspaper, seizing computers, records and cellphones” – Kansas Reflector headline on Friday, Aug. 11. “Arkansas education department nixes AP African American Studies course at last minute” – Arkansas Times headline on Saturday, Aug. 12.   Those two headlines refer to separate events but encompass a single theme — […]

Stacy Smith, deputy commissioner with the Arkansas Department of Education, presented various options available to the State Board of Education on Thursday morning, April 13, 2023, concerning the disposition of the beleaguered Marvell-Elaine School District. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

Federal probe in Florida should raise more than eyebrows in Arkansas

BY: - August 14, 2023

A kerfuffle in the Sunshine State stirred ripples in Arkansas last week when The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times reported on a federal grand jury subpoena. Prosecutors served the subpoena to Jefferson County Schools in Florida, asking for documents involving bids for a contract in 2021 to help the low-performing district transition back to […]

Should there be an age limit on public service?

BY: - August 4, 2023

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s brain freeze moment along with Senator Dianne Feinstein’s faux pas in an Appropriations hearing last week has once again ignited the so-called “ageism” debate in the national discussion. How old is too old to serve? Particularly in positions of national leadership? The US Constitution, of course, has long established the minimum […]

How book-banning campaigns have changed the lives and education of librarians

BY: - July 24, 2023

Despite misconceptions and stereotypes – ranging from what librarians Gretchen Keer and Andrew Carlos have described as the “middle-aged, bun-wearing, comfortably shod, shushing librarian” to the “sexy librarian … and the hipster or tattooed librarian” – library professionals are more than book jockeys, and they do more than read at story time. They are experts […]

Can Arkansans trust GOP attorneys general to act in good faith?

BY: - July 21, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This commentary has been updated to specifically note that Arkansas law prohibits the prosecution of a person who obtains an abortion. A cadre of Republican state attorneys general, including Arkansas’ Tim Griffin, say they’re acting in good faith in opposing a proposed federal rule that would prevent them from accessing information about their […]

Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice (left) asks a question of four state education leaders on June 30, 2023, at the organization's annual summit in Philadelphia.The panelists (from left) are South Carolina Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver, Oklahoma Education Superintendent Ryan Walters, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. and Arkansas Education Secretary Jacob Oliva. (Screenshot from Rightside Broadcasting coverage)

Arkansas education chief stands out as voice of reason at Moms for Liberty rally

BY: - July 10, 2023

I think most of us can agree the following quote makes sense and might even be considered a progressive position. “We’re working on reimagining the early learning space so that every parent who wants an opportunity to participate in high-quality child care or pre-kindergarten has the ability to do so. … There’s a direct correlation […]

Understanding epigenetics: how trauma is passed on through our family members

BY: - July 5, 2023

I am a proud Daughter of the Revolution. Growing up in a family of warriors, I saw firsthand how the trauma of active combat impacts individuals.  Modern research suggests the trauma our ancestors experienced doesn’t affect them alone — some studies indicate that trauma can be passed down to future generations through genetics. With each […]

A 2003 Supreme Court decision upholding affirmative action planted the seeds of its overturning

BY: - July 3, 2023

In an anticipated but nonetheless stunning decision expected to have widespread implications on college campuses and workplaces across the country, the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 29, 2023, outlawed affirmative action programs that were designed to correct centuries of racist disenfranchisement in higher education. In the majority opinion about the constitutionality […]

Arkansas lawmakers conceal a weapon against transparency in rushed, last-minute legislation

BY: - June 30, 2023

When is an ethics law unethical? When the law hides a significant, detrimental change to the public’s right to know. I’m talking about Act 883, which was filed in the last week of the legislative session and passed in less than a week. The central purpose of the law is to make sure local school […]

Column: Dobbs decision spurs moral injury to abortion patients, providers alike

BY: and - June 22, 2023

On June 24, 2022, the landscape of reproductive healthcare in this country took a frightening turn for the worst. The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned what had previously been a constitutional right to abortion set off a whirlwind of changes in healthcare – not only as related to […]

In this photo from a 2022 baseball game in Minneapolis, Minnesota, fans pose for a photo in front of a Pride sign at Target Field. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Happy Pride Month. Creepy, bully Republican lawmakers are fixated on assaulting our community

BY: - June 8, 2023

Happy Pride Month, America, where LGBTQ+ people are under constant assault by bully Republican lawmakers who are weirdly obsessed with our community, especially the transgender members of it. Transgender people — especially transgender people of color — have been leading the activist charge toward LGBTQ+ human rights and equality since the beginning, literally throwing the […]

U.S. Supreme Court poised to dismantle a key part of LBJ’s Great Society – affirmative action

BY: - June 7, 2023

Of all the civil rights policies enacted by U.S President Lyndon Johnson, affirmative action is arguably one of the most enduring — and most challenged. Johnson made it clear during a commencement address at Howard University on June 4, 1965, where he stood. In his speech, “To Fulfill These Rights,” Johnson argued that civil rights […]