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Teachers anxiously await the publication of Gov. Sanders’ education reform bill



Little Rock, Arkansas – If you scan social media on Friday, you’ll immediately notice that Governor Sanders’ new omnibus education reform plan is on everyone’s lips in Arkansas, particularly teachers.

Just two days have passed since Sanders unveiled her LEARNS plan (Literacy, Empowerment, Accountability, Readiness, Networking, Safety).

According to a Sanders representative, they are still waiting for final approval and to view the finished law for themselves.

Currently, summaries of it can be seen all over social media, according to leaked draft pages of the legislation; however, Sanders’ office was unable to corroborate this. As a result, as we wait for the entire wording of the legislation to be disclosed, there are some concerns among educators.

The fundamental details of the measure were disclosed by Governor Sanders on Wednesday during her press conference.

This is reportedly a $50,000 starting wage for teachers. That is an increase over the existing minimum of $36,000.

Any employee making less than that will be promoted to that level, and employees making higher will receive a $2,000 rise.

The strategy also mentioned the possibility of a $10,000 prize for “excellent teachers.” That would be assessed based on performance and the teachers having the biggest influence, she said during her press conference on Wednesday.

Beyond this, no other information about teacher compensation has been disclosed, including any clarification of any salary increases that might have been gradual and applied to both new and experienced teachers.

Leron McAdoo, a teacher in the LRSD, expressed his concern that people with more experience in the profession would not receive compensation based on the number of years he has spent in the classroom.

“Being in the educational system for 30 years, I appreciate the fact that there is a tiered system,” McAdoo said, referring to his current salary plan. “I appreciate that it is outlined, transparent.”

If it is based on performance, he added, there are just too many factors to decide which teacher deserves a $10,000 raise.

“The issue with that is every teacher does not get the same child,” he said.

The Fair Dismissal Act will also be repealed, according to Governor Sanders.

“The major concern I have is getting rid of fair teacher dismissal,” McAdoo said. “There may be some good things in the bill, there may be some great things in the bill, however, if you’re getting rid of Fair Teacher Dismissal, it won’t matter how good those things are because you probably won’t be there.”

As part of her educational freedom platform, Governor Sanders also unveiled a voucher system that would let students transfer to private or charter schools using money from the public school system. By 2025–2026, all children in Arkansas would have access to the program, which would first focus on those with the greatest needs.

As a teacher in a public school, McAdoo claimed that this transfers funds from schools like his, which require them, to other schools, where they are then pocketed.

McAdoo went on to say that he worries that choices have already been made without Arkansas educators present in the meeting.

On the first day of his meetings with educators in January, Secretary of Education Jacob Oliva pledged to carry out this action before making choices.

As a former educator, Oliva claimed to appreciate the value of firsthand experience in determining the needs of the school.

“You 1000% have my commitment,” he told the Senate Education Committee that day.

Before making judgments that will affect the health of the school or its children, McAdoo emphasized that teachers should be given priority.

“As they say when you’re on a plane, ‘Put your mask on first,’” McAdoo said. “Teachers have to put their mask on first before they can help anybody else. If teachers are not taken care of- being the first employee of education- then children will not be educated.”


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