Arkansas House Deals Major Blow to Government Schooling by Passing Universal School Choice Legislation
On March 2, 2023, the Arkansas State House passed legislation that would establish a universal school choice program by the 2025-2026 school year.
In a 78-21 vote, the State House passed the LEARNS Act, which would establish a school choice program that expands annually to broaden the number of students who can receive school vouchers. This program would grant vouchers of $7,413 to students outside of the government education system. The bill also bans lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through fifth grade and was passed in the State Senate by a vote of 25-7-1 last month.
“This is the beginning of our commitment as a state to put students first, and to look everyone in the eye and say Arkansas will continue to lead in terms of education,” State Representative Keith Brooks, said to the Associated Press.
If Sanders were to sign this bill into law, public school teachers’ base salary would be $50,000. Reagan Reese of Daily Caller noted that this represents a $14,000 increase from their current salary of $36,000. Teachers are eligible to receive an additional salary increase of $2,000 during the 2023-2024 school year.
Recipients of the school choice vouchers can use tax dollars to cover the costs of school supplies, testing, and tuition. As of the 2024-2025 school year, vouchers can be used to cover course fees, college admission exams, and tutoring. The cap on school choice transfers within the district will also be scrapped.
Arkansas’ school choice program largely emulates Arizona’s Education Savings Account scholarship system, which currently makes every K-12 student eligible to receive taxpayer-funded vouchers if they opt for pursuing an education outside of government schooling.
This is a good first step. Ultimately, there needs to be a total separation of education and state. In the meantime, the Right needs to focus on clobbering teachers and administrators who push culturally leftist tropes and agendas. These people cannot be allowed to continue corrupting America’s youth.