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In the States: Massive Education Bill Moves Through Arkansas State Legislature

Last week, a massive education bill started to move its way through the Arkansas state legislature. It is likely that the bill will pass through the state Senate this week before heading to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders desk for signature. The robust legislative package, SB294, otherwise known as Arkansas LEARNS has been touted by the governor as addressing a vast array of education issues ranging from school choice to increasing the starting salary for teachers across the state. While many school choice advocates are supporting the bill, going so far as to provide the financial backing for an extensive public relations campaign that includes television and Facebook ads, the legislation does not come without criticism. Arkansas minority whip, Democrat Rep. Vivian Flowers expressed her concern, saying:

“The fact that we are establishing a policy that doesn’t feed into growth and invest in our public schools, but instead really leverages the negative rhetoric that has been spread all over Arkansas and our country … I think it does a disservice to our teachers and it certainly does a disservice to our children.”

The bill also includes a provision to ban critical race theory, a trend that is sweeping the nation, generating at least 64 state laws that are reshaping what can be taught in America’s schools. Florida and Arizona have both recently reintroduced legislation that would ban the teaching of critical race theory across K-12 schools, both bills are likely to pass.

AACTE recently published a report on the state of education censorship across institutions of higher education and implications for the field. Read the full report.


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