AEA on Vaccine Distribution Timeline

Jan 12, 2021

On Tuesday, 1/12/21, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced COVID-19 vaccination would be available beginning January 18 for school employees and others in the 1b category.  

The updated timeline for school employee vaccinations is welcome news for the educators serving on the frontlines of this public health crisis. 

Providing quality learning opportunities for Arkansas’s students while also creating as safe an environment as possible, has placed our educators in an extremely demanding situationThe return to in-person education has resulted in the deaths of more than two dozen educators and, unfortunately, continues to put children and families at risk. Vaccinations will begin to help educators feel more comfortable as they continue working to provide the face-to-face connection for which there is no replacement. 

This updated timeline brings an opportunity to return to an in-person education where every student can thrive – but only if vaccination campaigns are done safely and equitablyWe urge state agencies to use consistent and transparent communications on the benefits and safety of vaccines. 

Until the vaccine effort begins to curb the spread of this virus, it is vital that we all continue to practice social distancing, masking, and hand washing. We urge districts to extend emergency leave for educators due to COVID-19 infection or for those forced into quarantine after potential exposure. Districts should act quickly to ensure educators are not forced to use their sick leave to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.


AEA on COVID Emergency Leave

Jan 5, 2021

Educators Call on School Districts to Extend COVID Emergency Leave Coverage 

Educators are rightly concerned as they return to school buildings while the pandemic continues to surge across our state 

Arkansas’s educators work tirelessly every single day to advocate for and create healthy learning spaces for students. Some have lost their lives to this terrible virus. While we know there is no replacement for the in-person connection between students and their educators, in many parts of our state these interactions are putting our families and communities at risk. 

As the state’s vaccination effort increases, we have a new opportunity to return to an in-person education where every student can thrive – but only if vaccination campaigns are done safely and equitably. We urge state agencies to use consistent and transparent communications on the benefits and safety of vaccines. The state expects to begin vaccinating educators on February 1, and we encourage the state to continue prioritizing those working on the frontlines of this health crisis, which includes school employees 

Until the vaccine effort begins to curb the spread of this virus, it is vital that we all continue to practice social distancing, masking and hand washing. However, in many districts, the uncontrolled spread of the virus may require stronger efforts, including a shift to virtual learning. The state has made clear these decisions must originate at the local level, and AEA’s Return to Learn Committee and staff will continue working with our members to address issues in their school buildings.  

We also call on districts to extend emergency leave for educators due to COVID-19 infection or for those forced into quarantine after potential exposure. The $20 million in CARES Act funding dedicated to this effort in the 2020 fall semester has been exhausted, but more federal funding is on the way. Districts should act quickly to ensure educators aren’t forced to use their sick leave to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus 

We urge all educators to engage with their local associations and AEA Uniserv staff to join the effort to advocate for health and safety with local administrators and school boards. When educators speak up about health and safety issues, we do so to protect our students, colleagues, and community. We must take these concerns seriously and district officials must address them to slow COVID’s spread.


Vote Strong Public Schools 2020

Oct 19, 2020

Early voting is now underway, running Monday, October 19 through Monday, November 2. You can cast your ballot early between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm, Monday through Friday; and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday. It’s important to note, on the Monday before the election, early voting ends at 5 pm.

Be prepared! Make a plan before you head to the polls:

Election Day is November 3.  Polls are open 7:30 am. to 7:30 pm.


2020 Rozzell Lecture

Oct 15, 2020

Registration is now open for the AEA’s 2020 Rozzell Lecture featuring former Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning. Mandy will talk about the great power that comes along with great responsibility for educators.

2020 has demonstrated the importance of community and the power of the individual. Our strength is in our collective. As educators, we must recognize our power, own it and use it, while also empowering our students and colleagues for the betterment of our schools, our communities and our society.

This virtual lecture, held in partnership with the Clinton Presidential Center, will provide educators an opportunity to receive professional development hours as well.

Register NOW!


Speak UP: One Month In Educator Survey

Sep 30, 2020

Educators are now on the frontlines of the coronavirus public health crisis, and AEA wants to know how reopening is going in your district. Following a set of statewide waivers approved by the board of education, we are receiving troubling reports of how these changes are being applied. We want to know what’s happening in your building. Please share the challenges, successes, or any other information we need to lift to our public officials. Your responses will be anonymous, but together with educators from across the state we hope to identify problems that need to be fixed and positive examples that can be expanded upon.

Create your own user feedback survey


Vote: Strong Public Schools 2020

Sep 16, 2020

With the COVID-19 related upheaval this year, there has been some confusion around voting this year.   

In Arkansas, we have local, state and national races on our ballot as well as some proposed changes to our state Constitution.  With so much on the line, we want to make sure you know the scoop on voting in Arkansas this year.  

Register to vote by October 5th

The first thing you should do is check your voter registration information.   

If you need to register to vote please print, complete and mail in this application by October 5thYou may also pick up a voter registration form at your county clerk’s office or your local public library. 

Absentee voting information

Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of State John Thurston have both declared that the COVID-19 emergency means that any voter can apply for an absentee ballot by giving the reason for the request as “illness.”  

  1. Review the absentee ballot application and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for voting absentee.  
  2. Fill out the application completely. 
  3. Submit the request to your local county clerk. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 27, 2020. 
  4. When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.  After you complete your absentee ballot, you’ll need to sign it as well as submit a photocopy of your photo id.   

Critical deadlines 

  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. 
  • The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Monday, October 5, 2020. 
  • The deadline to register in person to vote is Monday, October 5, 2020. 
  • The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 27, 2020. 
  • The early voting period runs from Monday, October 19, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. 

 If you have any questions about voting, please contact Susana O’Daniel, AEA Director of Public Affairs: sodaniel@aeanea.org  

 


AEA PD Virtual Conference Survey

Aug 26, 2020
Create your own user feedback survey


Arkansas Education Association Calls for Virtual Start of School Year 

Aug 10, 2020

Arkansas Education Association Calls for Virtual Start of School Year 

Arkansas Education Association President Carol Fleming told state lawmakers today it is unsafe for schools to return to in-person learning as Arkansas continues to struggle to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

Fleming also shared a set of principles and expectations that must be met to keep students, educators and

our communities safe once conditions allow for a return to in-person learning. The AEA Return to Learn Committee created the school reopening matrix to guide any decisions about the upcoming school year. The committee is made up of educators from across the state who have used their own expertise, along with guidance from health professionals to create the guidance. 

Fleming asked state lawmakers to join the AEA’s call for education officials to make a conscientious decision to keep children, educators and our communities safe by beginning the 20-21 school year with virtual only instruction. 

While we agree in-person education is the best thing for students, moving kids and educators in and out of school based on isolation and quarantine protocols will be too risky and too disruptive to the teaching and learning environment,” Fleming said. “Let’s work together to maximize the next two weeks to ensure that we keep students and educators safe, and prepare for a new way to deliver education and support until we can get this virus under control.” 

President Fleming’s remarks were made to the Education Caucus of the Arkansas General Assembly. Sen. Alan Clark and Rep. Mark Lowery called the meeting to hear from stakeholders on the topic: COVID-19 School or Not?  

 

Arkansas Education Association Return to Learn Committee

Chair: Kendall Tabor

Wonderview School District

Vice-Chair: Nanette Patino

Little Rock School District

Recording Secretary: Anna Beaulieu

Fayetteville School District

 

At-Large Committee Members

Ryan Gray – Fort Smith School District

Mary Knight, AEA Vice President – Lee County School District

Kyla Lawrence – North Little Rock School District

Audrey Nichols, AEA Secretary-Treasurer – Pulaski County Special School District

Corliss Stuckey – Hope School District

Evelyn Wilson-Thomas – Strong-Huttig School District

Ex-Officio

AEA President, Carol B. Fleming

AEA Executive Director, Tracey-Ann Nelson


AEA Response to ADE Onsite Learning “Clarification”

Aug 7, 2020

On August 5th the ADE informed school district leadership any local plan which does not include onsite learning during the full work week will not be allowed by the state.

AEA drafted and released this response:

No one knows the value and importance of in-person learning and the myriad of other services our public schools provide more than the public school educators. Unfortunately, our state is not ready to return to in person learning. Instead of using this time to plan on ways to reach the students who will need the most help in this disruptive situation, the state is now upending the plans local districts have spent months developing with educators, parents and community stakeholders.  

This “clarification” comes during a time when our positivity rate remains far above what health experts say is safe to reopen. Flexibility has been a necessary aspect of responding to the needs of students and school districts. Local districts should be allowed to make decisions that put health and safety first as the impact of that decision goes well beyond the school building.

The ADE also announced today a hotline where parents and educators can call to ask questions and request resources related to the reopening of schools. You can call 1-833-353-6050 from 8-4:00 Monday through Friday.


Educators Call for Standardized Test Suspension to Focus on Meeting Students’ Needs

Aug 4, 2020

In light of the ongoing public health emergency due to COVID-19 and the consequent upheaval it has caused in every public school community across Arkansas, the Arkansas Education Association today asked Secretary Johnny Key to halt high stakes, standardized testing for the 2020-21 school year.

As we prioritize the health and safety of students, educators and the broader school community, it would be detrimental to shift our focus and our resources away from achieving this goal.

In a letter, which you can read in full here, educators also call for a suspension of the Teacher Evaluation and Support System (TESS) for the same reasons, as well as a shift in professional development requirements to focus on topics that will better focus on student needs.

These include​​ trauma-informed educational strategies; supporting social and emotional health; as well as, virtual and other off-site teaching and learning strategies.

Educators must have the time and other resources to determine how best to offer safety, support and educational opportunity to all of Arkansas’s public-school students during the 2020-2021 school year. Taking these actions will aid in achieving that goal.