Arkansas Education

The Arkansas Supreme Court is considering whether the state can claim sovereign immunity after the Arkansas Board of Education’s January takeover of the Little Rock School District.

In March, the Supreme Court issued a stay in a Circuit Court case after Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen ruled against the state's claim that it has sovereign immunity.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The Little Rock School District plans to open a new middle school in West Little Rock as early as next year. Superintendent Baker Kurrus announced Thursday the district has a tract of land and possible middle school building under a $11.5 million dollar contract. 

There was some debate between Jonesboro city leaders and officials with Arkansas State University in regards to the construction of at least two conference centers in the town, according to emails obtained by Talk Business and Politics.

Talk Business and Politics on Tuesday requested copies of any and all correspondence between Arkansas State University and Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin about the projects.

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www.skyatnightmagazine.com

Researchers at the University of Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences have received more than $1 million from NASA to study Venus, Mars and one of Saturn's moons.

The three grants focus on the study of surface liquids and volatile compounds on the planets. They include a $434,000 cooperative grant with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study the formation of ice islands on Titan, which is Saturn's largest moon.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Education Commissioner Johnny Key posing for picturse with 15 regional finalists.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Four teachers were named finalists for the Arkansas Teacher of the Year Award on Thursday. The governor and education commissioner had praise for the profession, in particular teachers in STEM fields, at a ceremony at the state Capitol. Some educators expressed afterward a belief that the Republican administration’s policies are sometimes contrary to teacher expectation on decision making authority.

2016 State Finalists:

Meghan Ables: 11th Grade English/Literacy, Stuttgart School District

Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia.
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Another set of Arkansas universities is reporting enrollment growth and it is record breaking in Magnolia. Both the University of Arkansas and Southern Arkansas University report a growing student population to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. 

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Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Department of Education has set a goal to complete a review of the state's math and English language arts standards by this summer.

Education Commissioner Johnny Key announced the process on Tuesday, saying the state is recruiting 75 math teachers and 75 English teachers to serve on the review committees. The first meeting is scheduled for October, and initial recommendations for public comment will come in March or April.

A stand-alone, online-only branch of the University of Arkansas System for the first time began taking applications on Tuesday. The UA System is hoping the new offering will put a dent in the roughly 350,000 Arkansans that at one time started college but didn’t finish. 

Dr. John Kirk at KUAR in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

KUAR catches up with the new head of UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity Dr. John Kirk to talk about his mission, perceptions of the state takeover of the Little Rock School District, and where Black Lives Matter fits in the narrative of the civil rights movement.

Office of the Governor

Governor Asa Hutchinson is challenging Arkansas to raise its overall college graduation rate and increase college enrollment of adults.

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