Arkansas

Arkansas's Opportunity Gap

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Over 200 members of the Arkansas OTL Campaign made their way to Little Rock an Education Advocacy Day! Their goal: show their support for education reforms that provide every student with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn and highlight the progress the state has made in the past decade by implementing sound, research-based policies. Read more here!

Black students in Arkansas schools are more likely to be suspended and receive corporal punishment than their white counterparts, according to this comprehensive state-level analysis from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF), a member of the AR OTL Campaign. School disciplinary policies that disproportionately keep students of color out of school reduce their opportunities to learn and increase gaps in educational achievement. As this report shows, Arkansas schools rely far too often on disciplinary approaches that bar students from the classroom.

In a powerful op-ed, Bill Kopsky, Executive Director of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, reflects on the shooting in Charleston, SC, the history of racism in this state, and the work yet to be done to end discrimination in communities across the nation.

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One of the amazing things about grassroots organizations is how they develop—from genuine community upswell and shared interest in important ideas and values to, hopefully, a political force of empowered citizens. Bill Kopsky, the head of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, talks in a short video about the history of his organization and its own development.

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A rally at the Arkansas capitol building turned into an impromptu victory party as organizers and supporters received word that the bill they were protesting, House Bill 1733 had been withdrawn from consideration in the legislative session. The bill would have transferred control of struggling districts to private organizations and left these districts and the communities they serve without a voice in school reform efforts. 

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Following the landmark Lake View court case in Arkansas over a decade ago, the state has made huge strides in equalizing school funding and trying to give all students access to a great public education – but there's still room for improvement.

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On October 3rd and 4th I had the great honor to attend the 3rd annual Arkansas OTL Summit. Arkansas' organizers and advocates really know how to put on a show!

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Report
Jerri Derlikowski Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Oct 2013
The quality of school facilities can have a major impact on the education that our children receive and whether they succeed in school. Research, court decisions, and states have long recognized that disparities in access to basic school facilities can lead to differences in educational outcomes, especially for low-income students. This brief makes the case that state funding for school facilities in Arkansas should be increased to meet the needs of all districts. The official standards, that facilities need only be warm, safe, and dry, is not good enough.
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Data
Annie E. Casey Foundation, Jul 2013
The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book provides a detailed picture of how children are faring in the United States. In addition to ranking states on overall child well-being, the Data Book ranks states in four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community.
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Policy
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, May 2013
The Arkansas OTL Campaign has had an eventful first year and has drawn wide attention to a variety of education issues from fair funding to school discipline. A report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF), an AR OTL member, details the impact and success advocates have had in pushing for systemic change and opportunity for all.
Download the Policy >