This week, Arkansas witnessed a 144-page omnibus education bill be filed, pass through committee and pass in the Senate Chamber, all in less than 72 hours. We found both the time given to digest this legislation before it was heard, as well as the 5 minutes allotted for testimony, insufficient to cover the sweeping changes proposed by SB294. Therefore, we are submitting written comments on the bill to legislators and will share these comments and suggestions with members of the media and take questions at noon Monday, February 27, at the Arkansas Education Association building.
We share the goals articulated by the sponsors and the Governor of improving Arkansas’ education system. Our members are not satisfied with the status quo where Arkansas lags behind much of the rest of the country in education. We believe in evidence-based reforms and robust community engagement to achieve that better education system. We share the same goals of building a world-class education system accessible to all in Arkansas.
However, there are many components of this bill that are not evidence-based and that will undermine the goal of a quality education system accessible to everyone. We call on legislators to address some of our concerns and strengthen the impact, accountability and transparency of some of the proposals in SB294.
WHAT: Media Event & Public Discussion on SB294 (LEARNS Act)
WHO: Leaders from the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, Arkansas Education Association, Arkansas
Advocates for Children & Families, Disability Rights Arkansas
WHERE: Arkansas Education Association building, 1500 W. 4th St. #200, Little Rock, AR 72201
WHEN: Monday, Feb. 27, 2023
About Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families:
The mission of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is to ensure that all children and their
families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and to realize their full
potential. It serves as a voice for children at the Arkansas State Capitol and in Washington, D.C., gathers
and analyzes data to support public policy that serves all children and families, and organizes coalitions of diverse groups to drive change.
About Citizens First Congress:
Citizens First Congress is a multi-issue and non-partisan coalition of organizations who work together for
progressive changes in state policy. Coalition members come from all corners of the state and work on
many different issues. At the Arkansas Legislature, the coalition members lobby together on a common
agenda. They also watchdog the legislature, and lobby against threats to progressive policy.
About Disability Rights Arkansas:
Disability Rights Arkansas (DRA) is a private, nonprofit agency with offices in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Since 1977, the Governor of Arkansas has designated DRA the independent Protection and Advocacy
(P&A) agency for persons with disabilities in Arkansas. We work with other disability rights and civil
rights organizations and agencies, the private bar, and legal services to protect the rights of people with
About Arkansas Education Association:
The Arkansas Education Association is a professional organization for teachers, education support
professionals, students and advocates. Its fundamental objective is to work for quality and equitable
public education for all Arkansas students, the betterment of the Arkansas state education system and
quality working conditions for educators.
About Arkansas Public Policy Panel:
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is a 501c3 that advances social and economic justice through respect
for human dignity, diversity, empowerment and an inclusive, fair and transparent political process. The
Panel organizes groups all over the state, helping them become effective agents of change in their
communities and supports the Citizens First Congress, whose 68 member organizations represent over
32,000 Arkansans at the Capitol.