learns act

Federal funds helped Arkansas childcare providers stay afloat, but staffing struggles continue

BY: - November 20, 2023

Sherrie Gillespie wasn’t sure if the daycare center she runs in Monticello would survive the COVID-19 pandemic. “I may have stayed open, but I know I would have had to cut some services in order to maintain payroll and pay bills,” she said. Thanks to $445,000 in federal grant funds, Head of the Class Childcare […]

A teenager uses a laptop with a phone nearby. States are passing laws designed to keep kids away from social media and porn sites, but the effectiveness of the laws is being questioned by opponents and challenged in court. (Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Getty Images)

Central Arkansas school district drops library’s digital learning tools, citing lack of ‘filter’

BY: - November 17, 2023

More than 11,000 Pulaski County students are unable to access online educational materials through their local public library as a legal precaution, according to school district administrators, in light of the statewide debate over what content children should be able to access in libraries. The Pulaski County Special School District, which covers the rest of […]

Christ Academy students

Some Arkansas private schools hold back from joining voucher program

BY: - October 30, 2023

More than a third of Arkansas’ private schools opted not to participate in the inaugural year of the state’s new voucher program. Some, like South Arkansas Christian School in Lewisville, said they are still weighing the benefits of the Educational Freedom Account program and may join in the future.  “The first year, it was limited […]

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin

Working group recommends human trafficking prevention, intervention tactics to Arkansas leaders

BY: - October 16, 2023

A group of experts on Friday recommended three steps Arkansas can take to address and prevent human trafficking in, an effort that a $1.5 million federal grant will support, the state Department of Human Services announced in a press release.  Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders created the working group with an executive order in February, and she […]

Arkansas Supreme Court

Arkansas Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit challenging LEARNS Act emergency clause

BY: and - October 12, 2023

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a lower court’s ruling invalidating the LEARNS Act’s emergency clause and dismissed the case. The state’s high court was considering Attorney General Tim Griffin’s appeal of Pulaski County Judge Herbert Wright’s June ruling that the emergency clause of the governor’s sweeping education law is invalid because it was […]

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a podium

Implementation of Arkansas LEARNS Act continues with literacy coach training

BY: - August 29, 2023

Dozens of coaches are preparing to help Arkansas students meet literacy standards outlined in the LEARNS Act, an expansive new education law backed by the governor.  During a training session Monday, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the new literacy coaches she knows the impact a single teacher can have on a student because an educator […]

children getting off a school bus

Arkansas education department accepting early childhood lead organization applications

BY: - August 25, 2023

The Arkansas Department of Education is accepting applications for local early childhood lead organizations, a provision of the LEARNS Act that’s designed to facilitate the administration of a unified early childhood and education system. The LEARNS Act stipulates that ADE appoint and partner with local organizations that “will serve as the formal state-local implementation partners […]

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Education Secretary Jacob Oliva talk about the LEARNS Act and what it means for K-12 education in Arkansas at an invitation-only town hall in El Dorado on June 6, 2023. (Randall Lee/Courtesy of the Governor's Press Office)

Arkansas state officials, lawmakers search for common ground on AP African American Studies

BY: - August 23, 2023

This story was updated at 10:36 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2023. An AP African American Studies pilot course will be offered to completion during the 2023-24 academic year despite an ongoing review of curriculum materials, state officials told Arkansas lawmakers Tuesday.  About a dozen legislators met with Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Education Secretary Jacob […]

Arkansas Education Secretary Jacob Oliva (left) listens as Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders outlines her education initiative on Feb.8, 2023, at the state Capitol. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

An embarrassing week for Arkansas education leadership

BY: - August 20, 2023

The Arkansas Department of Education embarrassed itself and the state last week with its handling of what should be known as the African American Studies fiasco. First, the ADE botched the delisting of the Advanced Placement class from courses qualifying for graduation credit. Botched because the department didn’t alert teachers to the course’s removal until […]

Arkansas attorney general disputes claim LEARNS appeal is moot

BY: - August 18, 2023

Attorney General Tim Griffin asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reject plaintiffs’ claims that the appeal of a lawsuit challenging the LEARNS Act’s effective date is moot and to reverse a lower court’s ruling.  In a reply brief filed Friday, Griffin said the state’s high court should invoke the public-interest exception to mootness, reverse the […]

The Arkansas Judiciary Justice Building in Little Rock. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

With Arkansas LEARNS in effect, should the Supreme Court rule on emergency clause case?

BY: - August 15, 2023

The Arkansas Supreme Court now must choose whether to decide once-and-for-all if the state Legislature’s process for voting on emergency clauses is constitutional. That is one of several questions that have been put before the high court in the appeal of a case that delayed implementation of the LEARNS Act. The Phillips County residents and […]

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 — […]