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Education

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.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University announced today the Bradbury Family Foundation of Little Rock has made a major gift to establish the Bradbury Free Enterprise Scholars Program.

At $300,000, this is​ the largest gift designated to scholarships in the history of A-State's College of Business.  It comes following a series of increasingly significant gifts to business education.

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.

Arkansas State University System

$100 million dollars from private investors have already been poured into the ASU-Queretaro Campus in Queretaro, Mexico.   ASU System President Dr. Charles Welch says over 4,000 students have inquired or applied for the open positions that are available for the first class that will be open in August.  

The new campus is actually a mixed-use design with the new campus as the anchor.  The total master plan community consists of over 2,000 acres…370 acres consist of the campus, with the rest a mix of residential and commercial properties. 

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.”

Arkansas State University System

The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees meets Friday for its quarterly meeting in Mountain Home.  They will meet at 10 a.m.  Click here to view the entire agenda.  

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.

Arkansas State University

A partnership between Arkansas’ two major universities will allow students to get a dual degree in poultry sciences.   

Arkansas leads the nation in poultry production.  With Tyson Foods in northwest Arkansas and Ozark Mountain Poultry and Peco Foods in eastern Arkansas, more graduates are needed in the field of poultry science. 

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Arkansas State  University has announced that it has opened the search for a new permanent chancellor in Jonesboro. System president Dr. Charles Welch  made the announcement in an email sent to members within the university system. Please view the entire letter below:

Campus Community,

Another concern is being raised about legislation that would require public universities and colleges in Arkansas to allow licensed faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus.

John Pijanowski, chair of the campus faculty senate at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, believes the campus carry bill could be in conflict with existing laws regarding guns in churches.

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.

MUSIC: "Groundhog Day" The Rifles

Copyright 2017 KUAF-FM. To see more, visit KUAF-FM.

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.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University denies a request to make the Jonesboro campus a sanctuary campus.  In a signed petition given to the Arkansas State University System, Dr. Michelle Merritt made the request in light of a recent executive order that would temporarily ban people from seven specified countries from entering the United States.  A federal judge issued an emergency stay allowing those who are already in the country from being deported.  Bills going through the Arkansas House and Senate would prevent cities and institutions of higher education from being sanctuary cities and campus.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Courageous!  That description given as part of a recognition of the first four African American professors to teach at Arkansas State University.  The four individuals . . . Dr. Wilbert Gaines, the late Dr. C. Calvin Smith, the late Dr. Mossie Richmond, and Dr. Herman Strickland . . .are named “The Circle”.  Associate Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Lonnie Williams says those families experienced hard times when they came to campus in the early 1970s.

Pixabay

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.

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