Arkansas Education

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

A foundation run by the heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton has announced a $250 million initiative to support charter schools in 17 cities across the U.S.

The Walton Family Foundation on Tuesday announced its Building Equity Initiative aimed at helping charter schools establish and expand facilities. The foundation says it will initially focus on urban areas but will expand to help public charter schools serve at least 250,000 more students by 2027.

UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson speaking on campus in 2014.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

At the end of this week, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson will mark his final day in 45 years of service. KUAR's Michael Hibblen recently sat down to speak with Anderson as he prepared for his retirement.

Several dozen Little Rock residents aspiring to have a leadership role in local schools will make their case before the Arkansas Board of Education Monday.

Applicants for slots on the Little Rock School District Community Advisory Board are giving three minute pitches for themselves. State Board member Jay Barth says the group is statutorily mandated as part of the state takeover of the district.

He says the board will have authority over hiring and firing appeals, along with a larger mandate to speak for Little Rock residents.

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Razorback Stadium Arkansas Razorbacks University of Arkansas
University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has voted to move ahead with a $160 million expansion of Razorback Stadium, one that will add approximately 4,800 seats and enclose the north end zone of the stadium in addition to other upgrades and renovations.

By an 8-2 vote Thursday, the board approved the plan, which also includes the rebuilding of the Broyles Athletic Center, the building that houses the athletic department's administrative offices and football museum.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas is spending $400,000 to offer an online program to middle school students around the state aimed at raising interest in computer science and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday announced the grant from the state Department of Education to provide the Learning Blade program to middle school students in the upcoming school year. Hutchinson said he'll ask the Legislature to include the funding for the program in the budget in future years.

LRSD head Mike Poore (file photo).
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Michael Poore has packed up his office in Bentonville where he served as superintendent since 2011. He will soon transition into the role of superintendent for the academically challenged Little Rock public school system that continues to lose students.

Soon-to-be-former LRSD Superintendent Baker Kurrus giving a progress report on the district to the state Board of Education.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Outgoing Little Rock School District Superintendent Baker Kurrus bid farewell to the State Board of Education Thursday, while touting testing evidence of academic improvement. 

The district’s first and second graders increased national percentile ranking on the Iowa Assessment by 15.79 percent in the first grade and 13.95 in the second.

“Look at those math scores," said Kurrus. "It's even more dramatic when you look at second grade math," he said. "We broke the 50 percentile,” he added, about the district's national math percentile rank of 54.

Shakespeare's First Folio published in 1623.

One of the most valuable books in the world, the first compilation of plays by William Shakespeare will be on exhibit June 7 at the University of Central Arkansas. The school is partnering with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre to host the exhibit, entitled First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. UCA is the only location in the state to display the nationally-touring First Folio.

Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced two appointments to the Arkansas State Board of Education.

Hutchinson on Friday named Ouida Newton of Leola and Fitzgerald Hill of Little Rock to replace Toyce Newton and Vicki Saviers on the board.

Both terms begin July 1 and expire June 30, 2023.

Newton was the 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year and has 37 years of experience as an educator in the state.