April 30th 2013
According to a new national report, funding for pre-K in Arkansas has remained constant, despite a trend of decreasing funding in other states. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) releases a State of Preschool report every year. Arkansas usually does well in these rankings given the success of the state's Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) program. Arkansas ranks 11th in access for 4 year-olds and 5th in access for 3 year-olds. Arkansas ranks 10th in the country when it comes to spending per child.
April 18th 2013
Yesterday, Arkansas senators joined their counterparts in the House of Representatives and decided to make health coverage affordable for more Arkansas citizens. The "Private Option" will allow the state to use Medicaid dollars to buy private insurance plans for low-income Arkansans, thus providing an affordable health coverage option to 250,000 people. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families would like to publicly thank our senators for voting for this very important measure.
April 16th 2013
SB 1147, an "Act to evaluate the impact of school discipline on student achievement," has cleared both chambers and is on its way to the governor's office to be signed into law. The bill, by Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock), calls for the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to prepare and submit a report to the State Board of Education each year that contains the discipline rates for in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, expulsion, corporal punishment, and referrals to law enforcement authorities for each school district. The report will also note any disparities in disciplinary actions for several subpopulations of students. Perhaps one of the most interesting components of the report is that it will include the achievement status for each school district, which is a school performance measure used by the state.