The wording of the last two sections of the Arkansas LEARNS Act make it clear that the legislators who rushed this education overhaul through during the early weeks of the new administration knew they were on shaky ground.
Sure enough, a lawsuit has been brought and the State Supreme Court has upheld a lower court order barring the LEARNS Act from taking effect for now. A hearing is scheduled for June 20.
Efforts are underway to get a referendum on the ballot to stop the implementation of the LEARNS Act. The movement for a referendum was started by CAPES (Citizens for Arkansas Public Education and Students). It will take 55,000 signatures to put the bill on the ballot for the next election cycle.
The LEARNS Act does contain some provisions that will benefit teachers and students, but overall, it is a shameless power play to reshape Arkansas education to please a minority of the population and benefit a minority of Arkansas school children. It seeks to funnel tax money that is supposed to support the public schools into corporate pockets.