Education

Courtesy / Batesville School District

In 2018, the Batesville School District voted to work with Entegrity Partners to go solar to make room in its budget for salary increases for teachers. Now, Entegrity is working with 20 other school districts to harness the power of the sun to save money. Aside from becoming more affordable overall, Arkansas laws like the Solar Access Act of 2019, have made it more economically feasible for public entities like school districts to make the switch to solar power.

Courtesy / University of Arkansas Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas Fort Smith will be going through some changes at the start of the new fiscal year in July. Chancellor Terisa Riley discusses the reorganization, which she says will not come with a loss of degree programs or jobs.

Courtesy / InTRANSitive Arkansas

A proposed Arkansas law to protect teachers and school administrators who misgender public school and college students is expected to be approved by the state legislature. House Bill 1749, which prohibits requiring public school and college employees from identifying students by genders inconsistent with a student’s biological sex, was approved by the House and is now being considered by the Senate.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed two bills Monday that will raise the median teacher salary by $2,000 to $51,822 across the state. Senate Bill 504 and House Bill 1614 also create the Teacher Salary Equalization Fund, which dedicates $25 million in state funding to provide $185 dollars per student to districts that are below the median salary and can't meet the goal otherwise. 

Finding enough qualified educators to teach science and math is a challenge across the nation. To ease the shortage, a team of University of Arkansas educators will use a $1.45 million grant from the National Science Foundation to prepare secondary math and science teachers to teach at high-need school districts.

Arkansas continues to struggle to get enough certified teachers in classrooms, especially in poor and rural districts. A new report from The New Teachers Project examines the causes of the shortage and outlines potential solutions.

This winter, the Walton Family Foundation released its five-year plan for working with organizations on issues of education, the environment and inclusion. We speak with Executive Director Caryl Stern about the foundation's vision in those areas.

Courtesy / Arkansas House

Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, recipients are given legal work authorization; however, students pursuing a teaching career cannot gain licensure in Arkansas even though they take the same courses and undergo the same training as their classmates. House Bill 1594, sponsored by Rep. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio, aims to change that.

Courtesy / Springdale School District

House Bill 1451, which was filed by Arkansas Rep. Megan Godfrey, D-Springdale, would allow schools and districts to adopt bilingual and dual immersion programs in the languages of their choosing. Arkansas is one of two states that don't provide these types of teaching models, which Godfrey says are beneficial for both English learners and native English speakers.

Courtesy / Dan + Claudia Zanes

For years, the Walton Arts Center has invited students from schools across the region to education related performances. A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Colgate Classroom Series is bringing the performances to the students, virtually.

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