Grassroots parents, educators and public-school advocates attended the July 21st meeting of the Arkansas Legislative Council and called on lawmakers to prioritize educator pay increases during the upcoming Special Session.
AEA helped to support the grassroots led event, where attendees wore #RedforED and welcomed lawmakers as they arrived for the meeting. They then gathered on the Capitol steps to explain the urgent need to increase pay so Arkansas’s students have qualified educators in their schools. AEA President Carol Fleming called on the Governor to include educator pay raises on the call for the special session, and for lawmakers to prioritize Arkansas’s students when considering how to invest the state’s record surplus.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Fleming said while longterm funding for increased pay could be addressed during the adequacy process, it’s unconscionable to prioritize tax cuts while the state has the lowest-paid teachers in the region and is second-to-last in the nation.
“With a more than $1.6 billion surplus, we have an opportunity to take immediate action to address the shortage of qualified educators in our state,” she said. “The way we spend our money reflects our values.
“What could be more important than making sure that our students have the state’s top talent running our classrooms? Our students deserve to have highly qualified and highly paid educators in our classrooms.” READ THE FULL STORY
40/29 News: The minimum salary for teachers in Arkansas is $36,000 a year. That puts Arkansas last in the region and second-to-last in the country, according to Carol Fleming, Arkansas Education Association president.
“It is about being able to put food on the table,” Fleming said. “But also we have about a quarter of our educators who are considering either leaving the profession entirely or retiring.” WATCH THE FULL STORY
THV11: “Why are those legislators not willing to put money into our public schools,” Carol Fleming, Arkansas Education Association president said.
She added that she’s hopeful Governor Asa Hutchinson will add to the agenda for the special session set for August.
“Let our legislators know, those who represent us, that this is an important issue and we need to address this,” Fleming said. WATCH THE FULL STORY
KARK: Kimberly Crutchfield started in the classroom 23 years ago. She says her first paycheck was $600.
“I had to drop my insurance until I go up to a step where I could afford the insurance,” said Crutchfield.
She says she began advocating for higher pay shortly after.
More than two decades later, she’s still fighting the same fight.
“We knew we weren’t going to be millionaires, but we didn’t think we would have to go on public assistance either,” said Crutchfield. WATCH THE FULL STORY
KARK CAPITOL VIEW: On Capitol View this week, AEA President Carol Fleming told lawmakers the one-time bonus recommendation won’t pay next year’s bills, and called on lawmakers to use some of the state’s record surplus to immediately boost educator pay. WATCH THE FULL STORY