Education

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University officials are hoping to create a council to address the campus climate.

The national Campus Climate Network Group defines campus climate as behaviors in a work or learning environment "ranging from subtle to cumulative to dramatic" that can influence whether someone feels safe, valued and respected.

A bill that would defund sanctuary campuses – of which Arkansas has none – failed Tuesday in a legislative committee. In a voice vote, members shot down the bill by state Representative Brandt Smith of Jonesboro. Smith feared “rogue professors” would force Arkansas colleges to become safe havens for undocumented immigrants trying to escape federal immigration laws.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a bill that links college and university funding to factors such as the number of students who complete their degrees.

Hutchinson on Wednesday signed the bill that requires the state to adopt a "performance-based" model for funding higher education rather than basing the money on enrollment.

Hutchinson has said he'll call for increasing higher education funding by $10 million in 2018 if the plan was approved.

Update:

A bill that would defund Arkansas universities, were they to shelter undocumented immigrant students from federal law enforcement in the course of a criminal investigation, failed on a voice vote before the House Education Committee Tuesday morning.

A story about mortgages and incomes in northwest Arkansas was weeks in the making. We talk to some of the reporters, students at the University of Arkansas, about the process and what they discovered.

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The Arkansas House of Representatives has voted in favor of a bill requiring public colleges and universities in Arkansas to allow firearms on their campuses.

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The Arkansas Department of Education is recommending that the Blytheville School District no longer be classified as being “in academic distress.”

That classification is given to individual schools and school districts when over a three year period 49% of their students score at or below proficiency in math and reading.  Proficiency is measured by state mandated testing.

Recent high school graduates in Tennessee are already allowed to attend community college at no cost. Now Gov. Bill Haslam is looking to expand the year-old program to provide free community college educations to adults, as well.

Haslam, a Republican who has been in office since 2011, made his pitch at Monday night's State of the State address. Afterward, he tweeted, "Let's be the Tennessee we can be."

A bill to restructure how Arkansas’s higher education funding is determined is advancing to the state Senate. The switch from enrollment-based funding to productivity-based funding comes at the direction of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office. State Representative Mark Lowery, a Republican from Maumelle, carried the bill on the House floor Monday.

State Senator Eddie Joe Williams has filed legislation requiring anyone seeking unemployment benefits that doesn't have a G.E.D. or high school diploma to take adult education courses to recieve benefits. The Republican from Cabot filed the bill on Monday.

On January 17, 1969, Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockerfeller signed a law granting Arkansas State College university status.  2017 is the 50th anniversary of the institution's status.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves was there live broadcasting the reception Facebook Live.

The Blevins school board member who sparked protests by dressing in blackface for a party was given an award as the "Outstanding School Board Member"

Arkansas State University

As the Arkansas General Assembly gets ready to go back into session Monday, a lot of eyes will be focused on what happens at the Capitol.  Arkansas State University’s System President Dr. Charles Welch says he will be looking at how state lawmakers will address the budget.  One of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s legislative priorities is for a $50 million dollar income tax cut.  Welch says some tax cuts can have a negative impact on the budget for higher education.  He says the Governor’s idea for a tax cut is a good one, as long as lawmakers don’t make major changes or deeper cuts.

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Three schools in Craighead County are being recognized in a list of the best schools in the nation.

The Jonesboro Sun reports Valley View High School, Buffalo Island Central High School, and Nettleton High School were listed in the 2016 Best High School Rankings report.

A state-by-state study of Head Start programs shows Arkansas keeping up with national averages in per-child funding levels and hours of classroom time, but the state lags in pay and education levels for teachers. The National Institute for Early Education Research released the findings Wednesday.

Steve Barnett, the institute’s director and a professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, says in order to improve the reach and effectiveness of early childhood education, Arkansas should find more ways to partner with the federal Head Start program.

The state of Arkansas and Microsoft signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to further the instruction of computer science in schools. Under the agreement Microsoft, with no cost to the state, would help with professional development for computer science teachers in addition to hosting a range of workshops and events for students.

Advanced Placement Classes Popular in Arkansas

Dec 12, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Researchers say an eight-year effort to enroll more high school students in advanced placement classes is paying off — regardless of how students do on end-of-year exams.

The Arkansas Research Center at the University of Central Arkansas says students targeted for AP enrollment in 2008 are earning $4,000 more on average than students who didn't take advanced classes in math, science or English.

Earnings are higher even for those students who didn't earn scores that qualified them for college credit.

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There have been attempts in recent years by state Democrats and advocacy organizations to increase the amount of money the state spends on its pre-K program, known as Arkansas Better Chance (ABC). Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families held a meeting Thursday in Jonesboro to inform locals about potential legislation, including ABC funding that will be considered by the Arkansas General Assembly next year.

AACF senior policy analyst Paul Kelly told Talk Business & Politics the state’s economic future is dependent upon advances in the ABC program.

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The number of migrant students in Craighead County is on the decline, but Buffalo Island and Jonesboro continues to have the most migrant students.

In 2016 data obtained from the Arkansas Department of Education by the Jonesboro Sun, 276 migrant students are attending school in the county, which is almost 100 students less than the 370 students recorded in 2011.  Buffalo Island Central School District reported the most in the county with 114 migrant students.  Jonesboro School District had the second highest with 80 migrant students.

Davida Walls never thought she would be teaching high school biology, let alone in the first few months after graduating from college at 22.

“Teaching was not my initial goal. It was kind of an opportunity that just, you know, became available so I took it.”

She is trying to decide whether to become a doctor or a nurse, and plans to apply for a program to train for one or the other this year.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

There are many stories in the history books about African-Americans in Civil Rights Activism.  Here in Arkansas, most people remember the story of 9 Black students who were integrated into Central High School in Little Rock or Daisy Bates. 

However, African Americans in Arkansas made more contributions to civil rights than what was recorded in the history books.  The Arkansas Humanities Council wants the public to hear the stories of civil rights activism in the state. 

Students in four Arkansas school districts could help shape the future of medicine in the state.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Department of Education are partnering to pilot a telemedicine program in Jasper, Lee County, Malvern, and Magazine School Districts. The four districts were chosen partly because they have existing school-based health centers.

Tina Benton with the UAMS Center for Distance Health says the program is designed to reach students in rural parts of the state.

Representatives of the U.S. State Department met with more than two dozen teachers and nonprofit leaders inside the Ron Robinson Theater today to share work and celebrate the close of the first-in-the-nation Declaration of Learning pilot program in schools throughout Arkansas.

It was, in some ways, the culmination of an agenda set forth by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the waning days of her tenure.

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Arkansas is one of 37 states that is encouraging more girls and women to enter into STEM careers.  

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Careers that fall into these categories are traditionally male-dominated.  A national push is underway to change that trend, and get more women involved.  The national effort is called Million Women Mentors. 

Arkansas State University

Encouraging young girls and women to pursue education and careers in the STEM disciplines is the goal of a new national movement in which Arkansas State University is taking a lead role.

Million Women Mentors (MWM) is being promoted in Arkansas by Walmart, STEMconnector® and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who will be keynote speaker for the campus launch of the program Tuesday, Nov. 15.  MWM wants to engage a million mentors by the year 2019.

At 8 years old, Jeremiah Adams is starting to read for the first time. He was delayed several years in public school because of his slow reading, but his family says this new private school is changing him. He notices his surroundings in new ways, approaches learning differently, even insists on going to school.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he will commit $10 million in additional funding for higher education in fiscal year 2019 – the first across-the-board funding increase for the state’s colleges and universities since 1996 and the first increase of any kind in six years.

Marvell-Elaine schools bus driver Larry Greer’s route twists through the Arkansas Delta, between the White and Mississippi Rivers. “All together I go from Elaine to Snow Lake, 65 miles round trip,” he said, while elementary school kids filed onto his bus for the afternoon ride home.

These are country bus stops along country roads. The way is long. In the morning, Greer says, he will wait only so long at an empty stop before he snaps his levered doors closed again. “If they don’t come out, they’re not going that day.”

Dr. Amy Pearce

The 3rd annual Arkansas Science Festival is the state's only science festival.  It is a two week event meant to be a celebration of science.  Dr. Amy Pearce is professor of psychology at Arkansas State University and the festival's organizer.

"The goal is to bring people to our events where they can have fun,"  said Pearce.  

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Sexual assault and domestic violence crimes are on the rise across the nation, and Arkansas is no exception. 

Around the start of the Fall 2016 semester, A-State students were alerted of a sexual assault incident that took place on campus, which had many shaken up.  In the wake of the incident, KAIT reported that the victim of the incident along with students will hold a gathering to raise more awareness of the crime.

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