Arkansas Education

An official with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education told lawmakers Thursday the department is moving ahead with forming procedures to try to address sexual assault on college campuses.

The Department is approaching a November 3 deadline to create a plan for preventing sexual assault and for providing more comprehensive education on how sexual assault is legally defined.

Arkansas Department of Education Building in Little Rock near the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas will be handing out cash to high school students who pass an Advanced Placement test in computer science. The Arkansas Department of Education announced the launch of the Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program designed to encourage computer science education by rewarding students as well as schools.

The Arkansas Literacy Councils is changing its name this week to Adult Learning Alliance of Arkansas in an effort to better help adults who read below a fifth-grade level. 

"We felt the new name was a better way to communicate the work we do for Arkansans 18 years and older," says Executive Director Nancy Leonhardt. "Alliance represents that we are the umbrella organization for a network of about 27 community-based literacy councils around the state."

UCA Houston Davis
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor says a $500,000 grant is being provided to help pay for a new cybersecurity training initiative.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday the grant from the Department of Higher Education would go to the University of Central Arkansas to pay for a "cyber range," a dedicated computer system that can simulate a computer network. Students using the cyber range will learn how to identify cyberattacks and defend against them.

Hutchinson said UCA will have state of the art technology available through the Arkansas Educational Television Network.

Former state Senator Jim Argue
Karen Tricot Steward / KUAR News

Almost two decades ago, the Arkansas legislature passed a law allowing open-enrollment charter schools to be created. Today, a co-author of that original law says some aspects of these publicly-funded but privately-managed schools are making him nervous and uncomfortable. 

In 1999, former state Senator Jim Argue, a Democrat who once chaired the Senate Education Committee, had been in the legislature for eight years. He says he was growing increasingly discouraged about trying to better education.

David Monteith / KUAR

The embattled Little Rock School District ceremonially started work on a new high school in southwest Little Rock Monday.

Students from J.A. Fair High School and McClellan High School used shovels to break ground on what will become the first new high school for the district in more than a half century.

The two existing high schools, as well as four other schools in the district were identified as being under “academic distress” by the State Board of Education in 2014, which took control of the district the following year.

On their 60th anniversary return to Central High School last week, the  Little Rock Nine — the nine students who desegregated Central in 1957 — called for continued efforts toward integration in education.

Arkansas Public Media spoke with professor Erica Frankenberg of Penn State University about her study on the re-segregation of the South.

Bill Clinton Little Rock Nine
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public media

The surviving members of the Little Rock Nine and former President Bill Clinton marked the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School on Monday. The ceremony was replete with jabs at how far is left to go to achieve progress in the era of President Donald Trump and a state-controlled school district.

The anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock has brought national attention to Little Rock and renewed interest in the nine students who made history this month 60 years ago, even as a number of Little Rock residents talk of re-segregation of the school district and the ongoing state control of the city's public schools. 

At a symposium on Saturday, the Little Rock Nine and their families told stories about segregation. Ernest Green’s sister Judy said their parents inspired them to stand up.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Little Rock Central High School is honoring the Little Rock Nine’s 60th anniversary this week, and teachers from around the country are coming to Little Rock to participate. They aim to use their experiences and first-hand accounts gathered this week to take back with them to their students.

Joe De Pasqua, an American history teacher from Hartford, Connecticut who has been teaching about Little Rock for the past twenty years, will be in town this week for the ceremonies.

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