AEA Statement on School Closures and COVID-19

Mar 12, 2020

Today, (3-12-2020) Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that beginning March 13, all schools in Pulaski, Jefferson, Saline and Grant counties will be closed until March 30. This includes Spring Break in Arkansas from March 23-March 27.  

Due to risks associated with COVID-19 and direct contact with individuals, state officials said ADE could not isolate schools and made the decision to close all public charter schools and public schools in the four counties affected. This is not a statewide closure; however, the state department, along with the health department, is closely following the situation and will determine next steps as additional information becomes available. 

Pre-K programs under ABC (Arkansas Better Chance) will also be closed in the four counties.  

Schools are asked to implement Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) policies.  Additional information about AMI days can be found here.  

The Arkansas Education Association recognizes that public schools provide a great number of safety net services for our students and their families. In addition, we know our students do not come from an equal playing field with the same resources. Our schools are often the place where students receive these resources, such as food.  In an effort to begin to address this need, the State of Arkansas has applied for a child nutrition waiver from the USDA which will allow for greater food distribution optionsOfficials say the waiver will be similar to the summer “Grab and Go” feeding program.  

AEA also recognizes this change in instructional delivery may disproportionally impact classified and hourly school employees. While staffing during these closures is a district-level decision, we are acutely aware classified and hourly employees may have significant hardship in meeting the needs of their own households.  

“Each public school employee plays a critically important role in keeping our students safe, healthy, fed, and supported,” said AEA President Carol Fleming. We must not forget the uncertainty and hardship these closures bring to our students and educators. We encourage our school districts to keep health and safety top of mind while we all work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”  

Arkansas Education Association leadership is in contact with state officials as this situation unfolds and stands ready to support students, families and school employees through this unprecedented situation.  

We will post updates HERE as additional information becomes available. AEA has also put together a set of resources for Arkansas educators HERE.

You can find more information about COVID-19 from the Arkansas Department of Education HERE.

Adults with child-related COVID-19 concerns should call a health hotline set up by Arkansas Children’s Hospital: 800-743-3616. 

Guidance about Students and Staff Who Have Traveled or Possibly Been Exposed to COVID-19 

At present the Arkansas Department of Health is monitoring travelers who have returned within the last 14 days from affected countries and individuals who have had close contact to known cases. Travelers from affected areas are advised to stay at home and monitor for symptoms until 14 days have passed from their departure from that area, while limiting interaction with others. Once 14 days have passed without any symptoms of illness, CDC recommends these travelers be allowed to return to school and public activities. 

  • It is recommended that schools communicate with parents to let them know that the district is aware of the risk of COVID-19, the district is working with ADH to identify students and staff who may have traveled from the affected communities and district staff will collaborate with ADH if any such students or staff is identified.
  • Districts are requested to identify any student or staff who may have traveled from a country with community transmission within the last 14 days (see link for currently affected countries with Level 2 or 3 Travel Notice: : This information is permitted to be shared with ADH under the public emergency rule. 
  • Districts are also requested to identify and report to ADH staff or students who have close contact (such as household) with a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Schools should inform their school nurse if any student or staff has traveled to these countries so that the nurse can advise regarding home self-quarantine and assist with self-monitoring.
  • If a student is identified as having traveled from an affected area in the last 14 days and has symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), they should immediately be placed in a single room and have a mask placed on them. Others in the room should wear a mask. If physical contact is required, then gown, gloves and mask should be worn.
  • Any suspected case (with symptoms) of COVID-19 should be reported to ADH immediately at 1-800-803-7847.

Educators Come Together Following TN Tornadoes

Mar 5, 2020

AEA stands with the educators and community in Tennessee in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that hit the state on Tuesday. Please read this message from Beth Brown, Tennessee Education Association President, and find out how you can help in the links below.

During the early morning hours of March 3rd, strong tornadoes ripped through Nashville, Mt. Juliet, and Putnam County, Tennessee. The damage is catastrophic.

Communities have been leveled and multiple schools have been damaged or destroyed entirely. In Nashville and Mt. Juliet, there were fatalities, but not at the level experienced in Putnam County. Residents in Putnam County had almost no warning before the tornado hit, and the loss of life is gut-wrenching. Nearly two dozen Tennesseans have perished, with 22 residents still unaccounted for.

In Nashville, communities (East Nashville, North Nashville, and Germantown) have been ravaged. Clean up and rebuilding will take a tremendous amount of time and resources. Historic buildings, churches, businesses, and homes have been destroyed, and some schools have been significantly damaged. Schools are closed at least until next week.

In Mt. Juliet, the largest middle school in the state has been decimated, as has the elementary school that stood behind it. There are approximately 2,000 students who have lost both their homes and their schools. Several factories, which provided jobs to a large percentage of community members, are gone. Families are left with no homes, no schools, and no workplaces. Schools in Wilson County will reopen on Monday, March 16th.

Putnam County, which includes the town of Cookeville and surrounding rural areas, has experienced the most loss of life, including teachers and students. The schools sustained only minor damage and will reopen on Monday, March 9th, but will immediately begin counseling students and staff members who are grieving. Like in Nashville and Mt. Juliet, there is devastating property damage to homes and businesses.

The lone bright spot in the midst of this tragedy is the inimitable spirit of Tennessee’s people. There is a reason we are called the “Volunteer State.” People in the affected communities and across the state are coming out to help their neighbors, to grieve, to comfort, and to rebuild.

From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Tennessee Education Association, I thank all of you who have asked how you can help with the disaster relief efforts here in Tennessee. Should you feel inclined, here are some ways you can support us as we recover and rebuild:

Hands on Nashville via The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee:
(Donate to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund)

Gideon’s Army (focusing on Nashville):

Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Fund (focusing on Mt. Juliet and Putnam County):

Nourish Food Bank (focusing on Mt. Juliet and Putnam County because they have fewer resources):

American Red Cross:
(Click on Red Cross Helps After Tennessee Tornadoes)

(Monetary donations are appreciated, but we also have need of blood donations. Cookeville Regional Hospital ran out of blood and had to transport patients to Nashville.)

Tennesseans also appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes during this difficult time.

With gratitude and in solidarity,
Beth Brown, President

Tennessee Education Association

2020 Voter Information

Jan 30, 2020

Educators are no stranger to paperwork, but this may be the most important form you fill out this year. 

Make sure you’re registered to vote! 

Elections are how we hold our elected officials accountable. For this reason, educators must be involved. The 2020 election season is in full swing, and many of the state legislative races will be decided in the primary election on March 3, 2020. 

The deadline to register to vote in the March 3 primary elections is February 3. Early voting begins February 18th. Check your registration here. 

Open Primaries: 

In a primary election, registered voters select a candidate that they believe should be a political party’s nominee for elected office to run in the general election. 

Arkansas has open primaries which allow a voter to vote on a ballot of their choosing even if they are not a member of the party. Voters will be asked to select a Republican, Democratic, or nonpartisan ballot when they arrive at the polling place. Judicial races will also appear on the March 3rd ballot, along with some school board races and all judicial races.  

Election Day: 

You can vote at your poll on Election Day, March 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Find your polling place at Arkansas Voter View. 

Bring your ID: 

In March 2017, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law a bill requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls. Under this law, a voter who does not possess the required form of identification may cast a provisional ballot after signing a sworn statement attesting to his or her identity. 

Vote Early: 

During the preferential primary early voting is available February 18, through March 2nd. Voting locations are open between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Early voting ends at 5 p.m. on the Monday before the election. Off-site early voting hours may vary by county; watch your local newspaper or contact your county clerk for information. 

You can find more information about elections in Arkansas at the Secretary of State’s website. 

Mountain Home Retirement TownHall

Dec 10, 2019

Calling all educators! Join the Arkansas Education Association December 17th in Mountain Home, AR to learn the latest about your retirement from Arkansas Teacher Retirement System Executive Director Clint Rhoden, Arkansas House Education Committee Member Representative Nelda Speaks and AEA President Carol Fleming.

Don’t miss this special event, Tuesday, December 17th at 6 pm at McMullin Lecture Hall in Dryer Hall on the ASU Mountain Home campus.

Little Rock Education Chief Announced

Dec 6, 2019

The Arkansas Education Association is pleased long-time public education champion Dr. Jay Barth will serve as the Chief Education Officer for the City of Little Rock. Mayor Frank Scott’s announcement today ensures the city’s work to support our students and schools will be led by someone with a proven track record of advocating for public education in our state and in Little Rock.

Most recently, Dr. Barth served on the state board of education and was consistently a leading voice for the students, families, and educators in the Little Rock School District. Perhaps most notably, he voted against the state takeover of the LRSD and stood with our local education association (LREA) against the waiver of due process for district educators. Jay’s unwavering support for public school students and educators often meant he was the sole vote against the forces working to undermine public education in Central Arkansas and the state.

AEA has long been a proponent of the community school model and stands ready to serve as a resource to support the students and educators in this effort as our community continues to push for the return of a democratically elected local school board with full decision making authority to the Little Rock School District.

Educators Mourn the Loss of Public Education Champion

Oct 28, 2019

In 2015, then AEA President Brenda Robinson presented Representative John Walker with the AEA Friend of Education Award for his decades of commitment to improve public education in Arkansas.


LITTLE ROCK— The Arkansas Education Association mourns the loss of Representative John Walker.  Representative Walker was a towering civil rights and public education advocate.
“Public education lost a champion today,” said AEA President Carol Fleming. “His tireless efforts and commitment to ensuring the doors of opportunity are open for all will never be forgotten.”
Mr. Walker’s work with AEA began as a young courageous attorney working with the Arkansas Teachers Association (ATA) which was an organization that fought for racial equity for African American students and educators from 1898-until its merger with the Arkansas Education Association in 1969.
Attorney Walker was a champion of African-American teachers in Arkansas who were treated unlawfully in employment matters.  African-American teachers were systematically and substantially discriminated against in salaries, which was constitutionally impermissible. Mr. Walker established an enviable record on cases won in and on appeal to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court.
He also advocated for African-American students in Arkansas, in a desegregation case that continues to have implications today. Mr. Walker represented the intervener groups – Joshua Interveners, representing African-American students and families, and Knight Interveners, representing employees in three school districts in central Arkansas.
He was appointed to the State Board of Education by Republican Governor Winthrop Rockefeller but was never seated after the state legislature refused to confirm his appointment.  Had he been seated, he would have been the first African American man to serve on that Board.
Undeterred, he ran for and was elected to the House of Representatives in the Arkansas General Assembly in 2010 and served on the House Education Committee until his death. In his role as a lawmaker, he garnered the admiration and respect of allies and opponents.  He used his platform as a lawmaker to continue his life’s work as an outspoken advocate for public education, students, and educators.  Representative Walker frequently visited the well on the House floor to serve as a voice for those who often are not represented at the decision making table.
In 2015, Mr. Walker was recognized for his decades of commitment to improve public education in Arkansas and was awarded the AEA Friend of Education Award.

Vendor Booth Opportunity

Aug 12, 2019

Retirement Town Halls

Jul 30, 2019


The Chairs of the Joint Retirement Committee, Sen. Bill Sample and Rep. Les Warren have announced dates for town hall meetings around the state to discuss the future of Arkansas public retirement systems including the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS). Come hear a presentation by Clint Rhoden the new Executive Director of ATRS and get your questions answered!

  • Thursday, September 5, 2019 1:30 p.m.

University of Arkansas Hope – Texarkana (UAHT), Hempstead Hall

2500 S. Main, Hope, AR – Phone: (870) 722-8565

  • Friday, September 6, 2019 9:30 a.m.

Hot Springs Convention Center, Rooms 104-105

134 Convention Blvd., Hot Springs National Park, AR – Phone: (501) 321-2277

  • Tuesday, September 24, 2019 1:30 p.m.

Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC),

Shewmaker Center for Workforce Technologies – Walmart Auditorium, Room B102

1000 Southeast Eagle Way, Bentonville, AR – Phone: (479) 636-9222

  • Wednesday, September 25 9:30 a.m.

Fort Smith, AR – Ft. Smith Convention Center Theater Lobby

800 Rogers Ave. Fort Smith, AR 72901

  • Tuesday, October 1 1:30 p.m.

Arkansas State University (ASU), Cooper Alumni Center

2626 Alumni Blvd. State University, AR, Jonesboro, AR – Phone: (870) 972-3362

  • Wednesday, October 2 9:30 a.m.

Arkansas State University Mid-South (ASU-Mid-South), Magruder Hall

2000 West Broadway, West Memphis, AR – Phone: (870) 733-6722

  • Wednesday, October 9 1:30 p.m.

University of Arkansas Monticello (UAM), Fine Arts Center

346 University Drive, Monticello, AR – Phone: (870) 460-1026

  • Thursday, October 10, 2019 9:30 a.m.

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), STEM Building (tentative)

1200 North University Drive, Pine Bluff, AR – Phone: (870) 575-8000

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2019 1:30 p.m.

Arkansas State University – Mountain Home (ASU-Mt Home), The Sheid Building

1600 South College Street, Mountain Home, AR – Phone: (870) 508-6100

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9:30 a.m.

Lyon College, Nucor Auditorium, Lyon Building

2300 Highland Road, Batesville, AR – Phone: (870) 307-7000

  • UPDATE: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 5:00 p.m.

UPDATE: Benton Event Center

17322 I-30 N., Benton, AR

Phone: (501) 860-7004 Little Rock, AR**
**this is the final wrap-up meeting

Ford Next Generation Learning Educator Townhalls

Jul 16, 2019

Town Halls to Offer Educators Opportunity to Engage in New Career Technical Education Program 

The Arkansas Education Association and Little Rock Regional Chamber are partnering to offer Pulaski County Educators an opportunity to learn about an exciting new interdisciplinary approach to career technical education.  

Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) mobilizes educators, local employers and community leaders to transform teaching and learning in high schools by creating and maintaining career-themed academies.  This transformative process prepares students who will graduate from high school ready for college, careers, lifelong learning and leadership so they can compete successfully in the modern economy.  Teachers in career academies work collaboratively, intertwining the academy’s career lens across core academics to deliver relevant learning with real-world experiences provided by local industry.  The NGL framework is not a one-size-fits-all model, it requires local input and local customization. This transformation process requires significant and sustained input from community and school stakeholders, especially from teachers who are closest to the work. 

Little Rock School District, North Little Rock School District, Pulaski County Special School District and Jacksonville North Pulaski School District have signed up to participate in the program, but your expertise as educators is essential for success!

 The partners are holding two Educator Town Halls in the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center (1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock): July 24, from 5-7 PM and July 25, from 1-3 PM.  

Educators can register to attend HERE for July 24th, or HERE for the 25th 

AEA President Carol Fleming Begins First Term

Jul 15, 2019

New Arkansas Education Association President 

Carol Fleming Begins First Term 


Carol B. Fleming officially begins her two year term as President of the Arkansas Education Association, July 15, after winning a statewide vote in May of this year. She succeeds Cathy Koehler, who will return to the Little Rock School District following two years as AEA President.

“I am humbled by the support of our members across Arkansas and honored to serve as President of AEA,” Fleming says. “Educators are the people working most closely with students every day. We are the experts in education, and I look forward to lifting our collective voice at the state level to ensure each student has the opportunity they deserve.”

Fleming, a speech language pathologist at Pulaski Heights Middle School, has spent the last 20 years working with students.
“I am coming to this new role straight out of the classroom, and have been living and breathing the issues facing Arkansas’s teachers,” she said. “I have a close working knowledge of what we must do to improve our students’ learning environments.”

The state of Arkansas is facing a teacher pipeline shortage, and Fleming plans to work together with local associations, the Arkansas Department of Education and school districts to provide mentorship and professional development opportunities for early career educators.
“We’re committed to work together to build strong public schools,” she said. “From the Education Department to the bus drivers, from district administration to classroom teachers and education support professionals, everyone’s goal must be to provide a quality education for each of our students.”

For years, Fleming has been an active and engaged member of the AEA at the local, state and national level. She has also served in her children’s Parent Teacher Associations when they were students in the Pulaski County Special School District and North Little Rock School District. Fleming and all of her children graduated from North Little Rock Public Schools.

Fleming has worked to ensure good public education policies at the local, state and national level. As a parent of an adult with special needs, she is reminded daily of the importance of advocating on behalf of the professions and those served which has fueled her passion for education, leadership, and professional issues. Her goal is to get others to become involved to support successful public schools.