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Arkansas State University System

Officials at Arkansas State University are narrowing down the list of potential candidates for the Jonesboro Campus chancellor position.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University might be adding metal detectors at athletic events this fall.

The Jonesboro Sun (http://bit.ly/2pHgsHw) reports the preliminary discussions for the detectors comes after the approval of an act last month to allow concealed handguns at public colleges and universities.

Dr. Lyn Bayless, who for 20 years was the "Voice of the Lady Indians" at Arkansas State University, passed away on Wednesday in Little Rock.

Bayless was retired Chairman of Speech Communications and Dramatic Arts at A-State, and he was a past president of the Rotary Club of Jonesboro.

Funeral services will be held Friday at 2 pm at Emerson Memorial Chapel in Jonesboro.  Bayless was 85.

Arkansas Department of Education

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key is pleased to announce that Dr. Ivy Pfeffer has been named deputy commissioner. Pfeffer, the current assistant commissioner for Educator Effectiveness and Licensure, will assume her new role July 1. She replaces Dr. Mark Gotcher, who accepted the superintendent position at the Russellville School District effective July 1. 

Pixabay

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — Should U.S. high school students know at least as much about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist papers as immigrants passing a citizenship test?

In a growing number of school systems, having such a basic knowledge is now a graduation requirement. But states are taking different approaches to combating what's seen as a widespread lack of knowledge about how government works.

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas community college has been placed on probation after a regional accrediting agency said it didn't meet three criteria related mostly to assessing student learning and could fail another five.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2nP9vUe) reports Black River Technical College must provide evidence to the Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission that it's worked on the criteria by July 1, 2018. The Pocahontas community college must also host an on-site visit no later than September 2018.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is expected to announce on Tuesday a new education plan that will emphasize more accountability, especially when it comes to teaching traditionally underserved kids.

The plan outlines how Tennessee will comply with a federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

A bill to create educational savings accounts for Arkansas students failed in the Arkansas House today on a 46 to 39 vote Friday.

The so-called “Parental Choice Program,” SB 746, was not written to be a traditional vouchers program financed directly by the state. Instead it would have created non-profit organizations to funnel contributions from taxpayers and corporations to parents for their children’s school of choice. Donors to those organizations would get a 65 percent tax credit at an estimated $3 million annual cost to the state for three of a four-year pilot.

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday allowing state universities to prohibit concealed carry license holders from bringing handguns into “collegiate athletic events.” SB724 would also allow the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas State Hospital to prohibit firearms. The bill passed the House on a 71-20 vote.  A previous version already passed the Senate.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor says he has signed legislation expanding the locations where concealed handguns are allowed in the state to include colleges, some bars, government buildings and even the state Capitol.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two northern Arkansas school boards have temporarily ceased prayer before meetings.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2n3xYoE) reports Springdale and Harrison boards are researching the legality of the public prayers after receiving a letter from The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin. The foundation monitors matters regarding separation of church and state.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would create a school voucher pilot program for Shelby County has passed in a House committee following rancorous debate.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Harry Brooks, a Republican from Knoxville, would allow public school children to use taxpayer money to go to private schools.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET Tuesday

With the stroke of a pen on Tuesday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson separated a holiday that has for decades celebrated both Martin Luther King Jr. and Gen. Robert E. Lee in the state.

Under the bill that Hutchinson signed into law, King now has the third Monday of January entirely to himself, as dictated by federal law; Lee will now be commemorated in a state holiday on the second Saturday of October.

A bill that expands where trained Arkansans can bring concealed firearms is now heading to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk after the Legislature gave its final approval on Wednesday.

JONESBORO — Isaac White, a student at Arkansas State University, has been selected as a recipient of a Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) for 2017. He is the first online Master of Public Administration (MPA) student at Arkansas State to receive this honor.

Talk Business & Politics

A heated debate that has been stewing in Northeast Arkansas for months spilled over into a House panel on Tuesday (Feb. 28) after lawmakers backed a plan to merge Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute of Forrest City into its next door neighbor, East Arkansas Community College (EACC).

Schools in Arkansas get $6,600 for every student. So when kids leave a public school, the money leaves too. The state chips in temporarily to cover the financial loss, but a pair of lawmakers want to end that.

A bill requiring public universities to allow faculty, staff and students 25 years or older to carry concealed firearms on campuses may be coming up for a vote Monday afternoon in the Arkansas Senate. HB1249 is on the calendar after being amended in recent weeks to include provisions requiring additional training and extending concealed carry privileges to some students.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Arkansas State University System is having a board meeting Friday in Mountain Home.  Watch the board meeting to see what develops.

Read along with the agenda.

Public school districts in Arkansas regularly buy and sell property, pending approval of local education boards, of course. But today, the Arkansas Senate approved a bill that would take some of that control away.

Senate Bill 308 would allow charter schools the right to purchase or lease unused public school buildings, a seemingly small concession that nonetheless raises big questions about local versus state control of schools and inspired a heated back and forth between senators this week.

Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) said Tuesday that some public school districts let buildings sit empty, a misfortune he equated to murdering a building.

“We have had schools literally rot to the ground rather than let someone use them for educational purposes. That should never happen.”

Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) had a lot of questions for Clark. She told a Senate Education Committee Tuesday that the bill is heavy handed, and she said it takes local control from public districts.

Under a bill that cleared the Senate Education Committee Tuesday on a voice vote, all private schools would be given public funds to take special needs kids if parents so choose, even if they haven’t achieved what’s called “accreditation.”

The Arkansas Department of Education says it can take four years to get that status. State Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D- Little Rock) says accreditation is evidence that the schools are doing a good job.

“I don’t think you do it by allowing kids to be put some place for four years that’s not accredited and may never be accredited.”

AState Carl R. Reng Center Student Union
Arkansas State University Jonesboro Website (astate.edu)

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University has suspended all fraternity and sorority social events until April 1 after a student was accused of raping a woman at a fraternity party.

The letter was sent out Tuesday by the university's Greek Life officials. The suspension includes "all registered social events, drop-ins, formals, semi-formals, date nights" or any other social events.

The university says it will host mandatory "risk-reduction" training sessions in March for fraternity and sorority members.

Arkansas State University

In this interview, KASU's News Director Johnathan Reaves talks with Dr. Adam Long with the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggot.  Dr. Long talks about the center and the upcoming spring trip to Cuba.  Several openings are still available for the trip.  Learn more by listening to the entire interview.    

A bill to open-up membership in the public charter school authorizing panel to anyone in the public – without requirement – sailed through the Arkansas Senate on Monday. Currently the panel that makes recommendations on whether charter schools should open, close, or expand is made up of Department of Education employees.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren said establishing criteria for holding the posts is a burden on the state.

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