State Watch

Arkansas gov announces education reform plan

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced her Arkansas LEARNS plan for education reform to raise teachers’ salaries to a minimum of $50,000 and give schools resources to increase literacy and career preparedness. 

“This is the most substantial overhaul of our state’s education system in Arkansas history and frankly it couldn’t come soon enough,” Sanders said Wednesday. 

The new governor teased the reform package Tuesday night in the official Republican response to the State of the Union. 

“As I said in my remarks, I believe that giving every child access to a quality education is the civil rights issue of our day,” Sanders said, referring to her national address the night before. 

The Arkansas LEARNS plan will include not only a new minimum salary for teachers but bonuses for high-performing teachers as well. The plan will also add support such as complete student loan forgiveness for Arkansas teachers, reading coaches in schools and $500 tutoring grants for schools with students who are not meeting early education “reading benchmarks,” Sanders said. 

She also promised to give parents a choice as to where their children attend school, “whether it be public, private, parochial or home-school.” 

Sanders nodded to but didn’t fully address Republicans’ concerns regarding critical race theory and book bans in states such as Florida, Texas and Virginia. 

“We will never subject our kids to indoctrination and we will never, ever expose our young children to inappropriate material,” Sanders said. “Most importantly, this legislation ensures that every Arkansas student graduates with the education and training they need to succeed in life.”

The Arkansas governor said the announcement is delivering on her campaign promise to make education the “hallmark” of her administration as governor. 

Arkansas LEARNS, Sanders said, is a “comprehensive blueprint to meet teachers’ needs, respect parents’ rights and most importantly deliver the quality education that our kids deserve.”

Tags Arkansas Arkansas LEARNS Sarah Huckabee Sanders sarah huckabee sanders State of the Union

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