On Wednesday, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas put her signature on a bill to improve the state’s educational system.
“The failed status quo ended today when Governor Sanders signed the biggest, boldest, most conservative education reform into law. By the passage of AR LEARNS, Arkansas will be a blueprint for the country,” Alexa Henning, the communications director for Huckabee Sanders, said.
“It improves teacher pay, offers parents more agency, and equips our students with the skills they need to be successful in life. Every child in Arkansas should be able to obtain access to a high-quality education as well as a road to a career with a good salary and a better life overall “
Arkansas became the fifth state to adopt universal school choice legislation, making it the most recent state to pass school choice legislation in a state that is headed by Republicans. On Tuesday afternoon, the bill was approved by the Arkansas State Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.
The latest victory for school choice was the passage of Senate Bill 294, often known as “Arkansas LEARNS,” which received a vote of 26-8.
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The Arkansas bill will make school choice more flexible and includes a plan for the state to make school choice available to everyone by the 2025-2026 school year. The bill will give vouchers over time through “Education Freedom Accounts,” which are equal to 90% of the money that was given per student to each public school district the year before.
Huckabee Sanders told Fox News Digital-
“It’s bigger than just tackling school choice, it’s about taking a comprehensive approach to our education system here in Arkansas. I frankly am tired of seeing our state at the bottom when it comes to our performance and our outcomes.”
Utah’s governor signs a major bill to fund education, making it the third state to make school choice a law. Shortly after giving his response to President Biden’s State of the Union address, Huckabee Sanders, R-Ark., announced a proposal for universal school choice, which would be the first law of its kind in Arkansas.
Huckabee Sanders’s plan to reform education includes education freedom accounts and a “three-year, phased-in approach to funding students” that will give all families a choice by 2025-2026.
The proposal would also make it illegal to put a limit on how many charter schools can be open or how many school choice transfers a student can use. Other parts of the plan include increasing teacher pay, giving teachers incentives to do a good job, and making “critical race theory and indoctrination” illegal.
In response to Huckabee Sanders’s plan, Corey DeAngelis, a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, told Fox News Digital, “Arkansas is now the fifth government school monopoly to fall in just two years.”
“We’re freeing families from the clutches of the teachers unions once and for all — and there’s nothing they can do about it”
Arizona was the first state in the country to pass a law allowing education scholarship accounts. This year, the program was made available to all 1.1 million K–12 students in the state. Now, other red states are also trying to get school choice laws passed.
Most recently, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox set up scholarship accounts for all K–12 students in Utah to pay for “approved education goods and services” starting in the 2024–2025 school year.
After states put in place lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, there have been many calls for school choice and parental rights. After the COVID-19 lockdowns started a conversation about how much power the government should have and what kind of things kids should learn in public schools, school choice became a big deal.
Universal school choice laws, which didn’t exist anywhere in the country a year ago, got a lot of support from Republican governors. As of right now, universal school choice has been passed in five states.
School choice, or giving all families options besides the public schools they are zoned for, can be expanded at the state level in a number of ways, such as through school voucher programs, tax-credit scholarship programs, individual tuition tax credit programs and deductions, and education savings accounts. School choice programs also include charter schools, magnet schools, and homeschooling.
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