Arkadelphia News

Sanders signs LEARNS into law

By ANTOINETTE GRAJEDA | Arkansas Advocate

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday signed expansive changes to Arkansas’ education system into law.

The LEARNS Act takes unprecedented steps in hopes of restructuring the state’s K-12 schools, addressing teacher pay, school safety, career readiness, literacy, a new voucher program and “indoctrination,” among other topics. 

The legislation was Sanders’ main priority since taking office in January.

“Education is how we invest in our future,” Sanders said during Wednesday’s press conference. “It’s the seed we sow today knowing that only our children will have the opportunity to reap the harvest.”

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed her Arkansas LEARNS legislation into law Wednesday afternoon at the rotunda in the state capitol in Little Rock. | John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate

Because the LEARNS Act contains an emergency clause, the majority of the provisions took effect immediately. A few provisions will be implemented later this year, such as the repeal of the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act, which will be effective June 30.

Education Secretary Jacob Oliva said his department will be “acting with urgency” as it starts developing rules to implement the LEARNS Act’s various provisions.

Oliva said he’ll be in Northwest Arkansas Friday as part of an effort to meet with superintendents and leaders across the state to discuss components of the legislation.

The new law raises the state’s minimum teacher salary from $36,000 to $50,000. It also requires each teacher — even those earning more than the minimum — receive a $2,000 pay raise next year. 

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1 reply »

  1. Nice. Now tell me how they’re going to pay public school teachers the raise they just gave them when all the students move my tax dollars that are needed to pay for that raise over to private schools via the vouchers. If this isn’t challenged and reversed, most of our public schools will be shutting down before Sanders’ first, and hopefully last, term is over.