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Jan 13, 2022
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2022 Adequacy Hearings Begin

Jan 10, 2022

The House and Senate Education Committees review Arkansas’s public school funding every two years. Following this review, the Committees are required to make recommendations on public school funding levels to the legislature and to the Governor. This biennial review began following the Arkansas Supreme Court’s 2003 landmark Lakeview decision, which declared Arkansas's funding system for education to be unconstitutional.

At the first meetings of this year, lawmakers learned about the history of the adequacy process and received information about the current state of education in Arkansas from the Bureau of Legislative Research.

You can watch the adequacy hearings from Monday and Tuesday, and then sign up below for our 2022 Virtual AEA Legislative Conference to find out how you can advocate for students and stronger public schools!

 


Educators call on school districts to follow health expert guidance during Coronavirus Surge Court ruling allows for masking requirements that limit virus cases

Jan 3, 2022

The Arkansas Education Association is unabatedly concerned with the health, safety and welfare of our state’s students and educators as we approach another semester of school under virulent conditions.    

While in-person instruction is best for our students, it must be done safely. As record numbers of new infections hit our state, we must follow health expert guidance to make sure our students and educators are as safe as possible in their learning and working environment.  

The Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians is calling on schools and child care facilities to return to masking requirements for staff and students to help keep buildings open. Vaccines are also an important tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in any of its forms, but that does not negate the need to continue health and safety protocols including masks and social distancing. 

Circuit Judge Tim Fox’s ruling on Act 1002 as unconstitutional allows local school districts the authority to make decisions in the best interest of the community. Data shared by Dr. Jose Romero, Arkansas Secretary of Health, showed school districts where students and staff wore masks had 20% fewer cases of COVID-19 than schools with no mask requirements. It is vital that school boards consider and follow the expert medical advice of our health professionals given the situation on the ground.  

Educators are leaving their positions as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on their students, themselves, and their families. Districts cannot continue to ignore the rapidly changing learning and working conditions that must be addressed to maintain safe and healthy classrooms, buildings and school buses.

The Arkansas Education Association is a professional organization for teachers, education support professionals, students and advocates. Our fundamental objective is to work for quality and equitable public education for all of Arkansas students, the betterment of the Arkansas state education system and quality working conditions for educators.


2021 AEA Virtual PD Conference Registration is Open

Oct 8, 2021

Our 2021 AEA Professional Development Conference has shifted to virtual in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. We are working with presenters to ensure a quality online experience for attendees and will be featuring more than a dozen courses including Trauma-Informed Care, Ethics for Educators, Adaptive Leadership and the Who, What and Why of ESPs.

Be sure to download and submit your letter of intent to attend to your administration ASAP, and

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY!

You will be able to choose which course you would like to attend, and they will be available to complete online beginning November 4th. Also, don’t miss the Hybrid 2021 Forrest Rozzell Lecture, which will be held both virtually and in person at the Ron Robinson Theater Thursday, November 4th at 7 PM. Find details on the event and Register NOW.


Register NOW for the 2021 Forrest Rozzell Lecture

Oct 7, 2021

Join us for our 2021 “Hybrid” Forrest Rozzell Lecture with Dr. Charlotte Parham!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY 

A Revisit to W.E.B. Dubois Truth, Knowledge, and Sympathy in Public Schools

Thursday, November, 4th

6-7 PM

Brown vs. The Board of Education was the historic Supreme Court ruling that made racially segregated schools illegal. Desegregation was an important and necessary time in American history, but it was difficult for all involved. White teachers were unprepared to deal with teaching children who were deemed inferior. Black families were hesitant to entrust their child’s education to an unwelcoming environment. These issues of the 1950s strangely find themselves as relevant discussions in 2021.

For schools systems to provide safe, rigorous, and optimal environments where all students can succeed, there was and still is a need to address the school systems’ social systems. This system involves the human mindset and perspective of both teachers and families. The sociologist W.E. B. DuBois (1935) recognized the complexity of desegregation, positing that effective changes to the social systems must involve three critical components: truth, knowledge, and sympathy. This lecture revisits Dubois’s essential elements of truth, knowledge, and sympathy; and discusses how those components can provide a foundation for equitable education systems.

For more than 20 years, Charlotte R. Green Parham has been an educator in the Arkansas community. Dr. Parham served as an elementary teacher, gifted specialist, principal, and district administrator. She is a national consultant and author who currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Central Arkansas. Her research focuses are systems of equity, academic achievement gaps, school readiness, and disruptive innovation.

Dr. Parham is the executive director for Arkansas Imagination Library, the state’s affiliate for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library book gifting program. She is also the founder and CEO of Strategic Inc., a consulting firm that partners with schools and various organizations to support areas of equity and literacy.

The 2021 AEA Forrest Rozzell Lecture will be held both in person and online. Doors open at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock, the lecture will begin at 6:00 pm, following a reception with boxed heavy appetizers. This hybrid event will qualify for Professional Development Credits.


Legislators back leaving Arkansas schools’ premiums alone

Jul 21, 2021


Health insurance costs’ uptick OK’d; state plan’s premiums to rise 5%

Jun 19, 2021


COVERAGE: Educators Call on Lawmakers to Protect Health Insurance Plan

Jun 18, 2021

On Thursday, June 17th, current and retired educators joined a state lawmaker in calling on the Arkansas Legislative Council to reject massive health insurance rate hikes on public school employees. Please see the coverage below. 

From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: The Arkansas Education Association’s executive director on Thursday called on lawmakers to tap $70 million of the state’s general revenue surplus to shore up the public school health insurance plan so as not to increase the costs to employees and retirees next year. Read the full story HERE.

 

From KATV: “The current proposal to cost more, cover less and will place the expensive burden on educators and make the plan worse,” said Arkansas Education Association Executive Director, Tracey-Ann Nelson.

Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, a former educator, is calling on her colleagues to look at the state’s $1 billion dollar surplus and allocate all $70 million to cover the shortfall.

“When we convene in September or whenever it is, we ought to be thinking about things like this,” she said. “Then, if there if money left over, let’s talk about a tax break.”

(Hope Teacher Hosea) Born agrees with Elliott’s statements. “So I’m asking Arkansas legislators not just to invest in educators but to invest in the future. We have to do something. We have to show our people that we care, and this is the least that we can do right now,” he says. Watch more HERE.

 

From 5 News: Tamara Long is a paraprofessional at Huntsville Middle School and says the fact the state pays less and less every year hurts. She says they were at work every day during the pandemic.  

“Everyone stepped up to work, and some of us against doctors’ orders, that would be me, and I know there is other staff that did that as well. So we stepped up, we worked, we did it for the kids, and it would just be nice if the state would show us a little bit of appreciation for that,” she said. Watch more HERE.

 

From KARK: Hosea Born is a teacher in the Hope School District and he said it feels like the state is looking for the straw to break the camel’s back.

“We’re talking about anywhere from 15 to 20% increase that is $70 a month for individuals,” Born said.

State Board of Finance discuss Public School Employee Insurance plan
He also said it could be hard to recruit and retain teachers in some districts because many of the raises that have been approved by the Legislature will be going to pay for potential increases.

“It’s hard to step back and say like why am I here and it goes back to we’re here for the kids but at some point, we’re going to see the teacher crisis continue,” Born said. Watch more HERE.

From the Arkansas Times: “While we don’t yet know what the board members will recommend, they are seeking an additional $35 million from the General Assembly, which falls well short of the needed $70 million. This will likely result in shifting the remaining shortfall onto the backs of educators,” Arkansas Education Association Executive Director Tracey-Ann Nelson said. She and other educators’ advocates say we should look to the state surplus for the rest. Read more HERE.