Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders unveiled Arkansas LEARNS on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, alongside state legislators, students, parents, and teachers at the Arkansas State Capitol. In an infographic, the Governor’s office describes Arkansas LEARNS in three categories: Educate Kids, Empower Parents, and Recruit & Retain Good Teachers. We break it down for you below, and the infographic is at the end.
The first part of the infographic, EDUCATE KIDS, states that “in Arkansas, only 35% of third graders can read at grade level – a proven indicator of future success.” Governor Sanders says she will create a unified system to expand access to high quality education from birth through 12th grade. She plans to deploy 120 literacy coaches across the state of Arkansas to maximize student learning. Under this plan, K-3 students who are struggling to read at grade level will be eligible for $500 per year for supplemental education services. Before advancing to 4th grade, students must be able to read at a 3rd grade level. In that section, it also states “No Critical Race Theory or indoctrination.”
Also under the Educate Kids section, there are 4 points aimed at job readiness, job resources, service to community and choice of school courses. This part of the plan includes “a dual-track equally rigorous diploma that will prepare students to take on high-paying jobs in the workforce upon graduation.” Secondly, it has “online resources for job seekers to find available jobs and required training in their region.” Next, the focus on community service states that “students must complete 75 hours to graduate high school.” Finally, the part of the plan includes, “a catalog of available courses for students to enroll in, allowing students to take courses across the state.”
In the middle of the infographic, it’s the EMPOWER PARENTS section. Alongside the heading “Education Freedom Account,” it states there would be a “three-year, phased-in approach to fund students. Every family can choose the school that serves their kid best” and there would be “universal choice for all families by 2025-2026.”
Next under the Empower Parents section, it lists an “innovative transportation fund, modernized transportation routes and resources, no limit on the number of charters, and no limit on the number of school choice transfers.”
The third section of the infographic, RECRUIT & RETAIN GOOD TEACHERS, shows the current minimum base salary to be $36,000, stating that is 48th in the nation. It says Governor Sanders will increase the minimum base salary to $50,000, which would be 4th in the nation. It states that 15,429 Arkansas teachers will receive a raise to the minimum, and all Arkansas teachers will receive a raise.
In the next part of this final section, the plan is to “provide for 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, repeal the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act, reward good teachers with up to $10,000 bonuses, and expand school safety initiatives with crisis response training and mental health awareness training.
See the full infographic below: